Your Smartphone: How to Manage Privacy

Chances are, your smartphone is collecting a lot of data about you.

And at first glance, your smartphone data might seem inconsequential. I mean who cares who you engage with, what sites you visit, and where you do your shopping. Right? 

Well, I can assure you, those who had a hand in developing algorithms to track intimate digital patterns at tech giants would strongly disagree.  

smartphone in hands
Your smartphone knows you really well. And so do the companies tracking it.

Your actions, likes, dislikes, views, purchase history, routines, and confidential information are all turned into metrics and analyzed. Those insights are used to turn your behaviors into a product for profit. Can you imagine having someone in your home, documenting everything you did the entire day, every day?  

Everything you do on your smartphone is tracked and used for manipulation. It may sound like the only solution is to stop using your smartphone altogether. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to regain control of your smartphone data and still use the technology.  Presence is here to give you that leg up and provide you with some guidance to do exactly that. 

Step #1:  Change your device name!

change smartphone name
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

If you didn’t know your device had a name, now you do!   When Bluetooth is activated, the name of your phone is visible to anyone in your area that has their Bluetooth on as well.  You may be asking yourself, “Why does that matter?” The best way to answer that question is with another question. Would you go to a public place and announce your name or any other personally identifiable information for no reason at all? Most of us would probably say “no”. So why make your name publicly available for the world to see? Unless you aspire to be Austin Powers and also like to live life dangerously, we suggest that you change the name of your phone to something that does not contain any personally identifying information.    

To do this on an iPhone:

  1. Click on settings.
  2. Select general.
  3. Go to about.
  4. Choose name.
  5. Change the name.

To do this on an android:

  1. Click on settings.
  2. Select on Bluetooth.
  3. Turn Bluetooth on if it is off.
  4. Hit the menu button.
  5. Choose the “Rename Device” option.
  6. Rename your device.

Step #2: Get rid of your local footprints.

Companies love when people like you and me leave location services on. This reveals all sorts of personal information about you like, what you do for work, were you are located, and who you engage with. Tracked overtime that data can lead to a lot of capital for businesses. If they know where you live, they can send you promotions for things in your area. If an organization knows your line of work, they can send you content that will align with your job responsibilities. If they know your habits, companies collecting that info know when you are most vulnerable and are more likely to purchase their product or service. 

This effectively positions most consumers as a “cash cow” and is the reason that data is so highly sought after by data brokers and data hoarding apps. The good news is you can take precautionary measures to prevent this data from being shared and to regain control of your own personal smartphone data. 

We recommend that you go through the permissions of all your apps and turn off location services – more specifically the apps that don’t need it for their service to be effective.  Does an app for project planning really need to know where you live? Use the steps below to manage your app permissions. 

How to manage your smartphone data:

To manage permissions on a per-app basis with an iPhone:

  1. Click settings.
  2. Select privacy.
  3. Choose location services.
  4. Use the list of apps to manage location sharing for each.

To manage permissions on a per-app basis with an Android:

  1. Click settings.
  2. Select apps.
  3. Use the list of apps to manage location sharing for each.

To turn off all location services on your iPhone:

  1. Click settings.
  2. Select privacy.
  3. Choose location services.
  4. Use the switch at the top of the screen to turn of all location services.

To turn off all location services on your Android:

  1. Click settings.
  2. Select security & location/location.
  3. Turn off your location.

Step #3 Download and use a browser that puts privacy higher on the priority list.

privacy please sign
Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

Most phones come with a default browser installed.  Those default browsers tend to store a great deal of personally identifying information – what you search for and what sites you engage with the most.  That information can be used or given away to turn a profit. Take a moment to download a new browser that puts your privacy online first.  We recommend DuckDuckGo as our browser of choice, but there are a handful of others that you can also take advantage of. Go to the App Store or Google Play store and download a private browser (DuckDuckGo is available on both). 

We take online privacy very seriously at Presence. While we seek to inform you on how best to control your privacy, data hoarding companies would rather keep you in the dark and continue profiting from your activity. Don’t be a product. Take advantage of these tools and guides to keep your personal information private.   

Join the movement.  

#privacyfirst. 

What we have shared with you in this blog article is only the tip of the iceberg. It all starts with one step. Here are some additional resources that you can use to take action and regain control of your online privacy:  

Director Marketing @ Presence Global
Nov 13, 2020 8:08:58 PM

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