When the subject of GPS tracking is brought up most people think about Google Maps or Tom Tom and how to get from point a to point b. What isn’t considered is how GPS tracking can also be a serious invasion of privacy.
Our smartphones are continuously pinging cell towers that can be used to determine our every move. This type of location-based tracking makes it easy to find and connect with friends on social media platforms (find a pal to have lunch with on Foursquare), but it can be misused too. Does license plate reading and domestic surveillance drones give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? Probably not.
As a mobile device user, what can you do to protect yourself? The good news here is that you have several options. Some of these suggestions are lacking when it comes to convenience and they might be defined as just downright unpractical, but if GPS surveillance keeps you up night then give these a whirl.
Have more face-to-face conversations
Speaking in person isn’t all that bad. Instead of firing off a text message or sending a tweet go back to basics. Again, this isn’t always possible, but it is a preferred method of communication that is tougher to monitor and track when it comes to government (and corporate )eavesdropping.
Embrace your landlines
When you can’t converse in person good old fashioned landlines are decent substitutes. Unlike GPS tracking and monitoring of SMS messages, wire communications have significantly more legal protection thanks to things like the Wiretap Statue in the Omnibus Crime Control & Safe Streets Act of 1968.
Stay clear of SMS messaging
You don’t need the NSA peeping around what your texting to others and based on recent revelations it appears that they do. Text messages can be intercepted over radio with minimal equipment involved. Because SMS messages are considered to be forms of electronic communication they aren’t protected by the wiretap rules. If you don’t want to be tracked then forgo texting or take look at the upcoming Blackphone with enhanced privacy capabilities.
At the risk of sounding like a crazy conspiracy theorist, not using a mobile device is the best way to eliminate any sort of GPS tracking. Even if you’re not actively making a phone call you can still be tracked. Same thing goes for when it’s powered off. Your choices are to leave your handset at home or remove the battery while you’re out and about.
In short, think about utilizing encryption services for your Internet communications, employ more in person conversations into your routine and stow your phone at home when you’re out and about to avoid potential GPS tracking. Easier said than done, but until better legislation is enacted to provide privacy protection these are good options to consider.
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