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WYA? Location Services

In partnership with Breezeline

WYA (Where you at?) is one of the quickest ways to ask a friend about their location, but sharing your location comes with its own problems. Location Services allow software services and apps to use geographic data and information to provide services or information to users. It can be used for health, entertainment, work, or personal life. It can be used for improving targeted services to you, like store apps and additional online features. Location Services enhance services for recreation, travel, emergencies, and business. The location-based app leverages GPS (Global Positioning System) technology embedded in smartphones and wireless access points, or infrastructure to locate the current position of devices. There are lots of uses for location services:

  • Map out your next road trip

  • Meet someone at a local restaurant

  • Determine distance from a hotel to a venue

  • Enjoy a date somewhere in the middle

  • Check local weather

  • Monitor distance of activities, like jogging

  • Enable alerts for emergencies and natural disasters

You can use location services on a mobile device, tablet, or desktop. A user can toggle a button to enable location. Businesses use location services for marketing purposes and location-based advertising. It can be used for fraud prevention. Location-based apps enhance security by matching a user’s location through a mobile app to a credit card transaction. The location-based app to a credit card allows a bank to flag suspected transactions across several geographic areas over a short time. There are some hazards to using location services. Automatic check-ins can reveal personal and sensitive information, like the location of a confidential meeting. Disable automatic check-ins and reconsider posting to social media. Use Location Services when you need to and turn it off when you’re done. Less tracking of personal data and location will keep your data safer. Once your location is shared with companies, there’s no way to delete the information. Avoid sharing your location in the first place. Be cautious of exposing your location in photos and on social media. If you do decide to share a location, do so after you’ve visited a site. If you’re traveling, set up a travel alert. Credit card providers are often aware of your location and purchasing habits. Contact your credit card provider to inform them of travel plans, so you’re not locked out from your account and the card is declined. If you’re in an emergency, your phone will automatically send its location to emergency responders if you dial 911. There are a couple of solutions to protect yourself from tracking services.

  • Browse in an incognito window.

  • Manually clear your browsing history.

  • Use a site like DuckDuckGo for website privacy.

  • Turn off location tracking & mobile ad ID

Combining these solutions with awareness will protect your whereabouts and reduce further tracking from apps. REFERENCES: Teressa Gehrke is the Founder & CEO of PopCykol, an emerging cyber security awareness company for kids. She has worked in cyber security since 2014 as a technical writer, user experience consultant, and project manager. She holds a master's degree in Genetic Anthropology and International Development and studied computer networking and network security. She’s an award-winning children’s music singer-songwriter and brings her children's music and artistry to PopCykol.

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