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My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

GPS tracking on smartphones becomes legal issue

The new tracking feature is displayed on Google's GPS

By Madeline Kempf  |  Staff Writer

You’d think that, for what an iPhone is worth, at least the security of the device would be intact. To the angst of users everywhere, it may not be.

Recently, officials revealed that Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads track the location of users’ data. This raises questions of legality as well as safety. Data is kept on the device as well as sent to the company for research purposes. Should anyone else get their hands on that precious device, they’ll have the particulars of your recent travels and activities.

An easy fix exists. By turning off the GPS tracking in the settings menu, it becomes impossible for those apps to have access to your location. But this virtually disables a number of popular apps, leaving you with a smartphone that isn’t all that smart.

Furthermore, if your device is synced to any other device, that information is transferred as well. Owning an Android doesn’t mean you’re exempt from that unfortunate fact.

At the moment, people aren’t even sure how this information can be abused. But it’s not too foreign a concept to consider that some may abuse it or take advantage of it in a criminal manner.

The Federal Communications Commissions and the Federal Trade Commission are now looking into the existing technology to prevent the leak of user data. But Apple and other device makers have yet to be forced to adhere to these rules. Current protocol is simply written for an old-fashioned phone service; not quite the mobile broadband system on which communication currently relies.

What, then, of teens toting these easily-traceable devices? It really isn’t that big of a threat, seeing as there’s not much to do with one’s coordinates, but this serves as one more reason to keep an eye on that oh-so-precious smartphone.

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GPS tracking on smartphones becomes legal issue