How to Turn Off or Disable Location Tagging and Tracking on Facebook

Recently we discovered that somehow Facebook had started including our location in posts, even though we were sure we had location tagging turned off. So we started searching for how to disable location tracking on Facebook. And guess what. At the time of this writing, there is no way on Facebook to set Location by default to “off”. That’s because you have to turn it off on your computer or smartphone, not on Facebook.

NSA Mining Data from Smartphone Apps

Turns out there is another reason for rejecting all those insidious game invitations from smartphone apps and their Facebook counterparts: the New York Times has revealed today that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, are mining the data that your smartphone apps are generating, from location data, to contact lists, to phone logs and even the data embedded in images. Dubbed the “Mobile Surge” by the Brits, the intelligence community is giddy with glee over the trove of data served up by mobile apps.

Stunning Example of What Cell Phone Records and Publicly Available Data Can Reveal About You

It’s amazing to us that even with the public knowing that agencies such as the NSA are accessing cell phone records, and with cautions against using location-based services or revealing your location on Twitter, people seem to choose to ignore the cautions. Well, perhaps this will convince you. Even before all of this came to light, way back in 2009, a German politician named Malte Spitz, in an effort to demonsrate just how much we have given up our privacy – just how insidious it is – decided to make public six-months’ worth of his cell phone records. And the German newspaper Die Zeit created an animation – really an animated visualization – of where Spitz went, and what he was doing, every day of that six months, with stunning accuracy.

“Girls Around Me” Girl Finding App May No Longer Be in the App Store but It’s Still Out There

Hailed as a rapist and stalker’s haven, “Girls Around Me” is not only a creepy app in its concept, it enables iPhone and android users to track nearby women based on their geographic location. The information is aggregated from check-ins through Facebook and Four Square, and perhaps what makes it the creepiest app, and why it is being called the “stalking app,” is because if a user of the app likes what he initially sees about the girl, he can see more information about her as pulled from her Four Square account and Facebook link, including more photos of her.

California Says “No Warrant Needed to Get Location-Based Data”, Can Other States be Far Behind?

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Sunday that would have required a search warrant in order to obtain location-based personal information obtained through cell towers from mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, and also GPS systems. The veto came with the message that Brown felt that information based on a user’s location is important to the processes needed by law enforcement.

Growing Concerns Over Carrier IQ – What it Is and How to Tell If Your Phone is Likely to Have It

Cell phone companies are scrambling amid growing concerns over the Carrier IQ (or “CIQ”) software that has shipped preinstalled (and undisclosed) on many, many smartphones across several carriers, as demands for full disclosure and accountability increase, Federal representatives demand answers, and some suggest that the use of the software, which is alleged to log keystrokes, websites visited, and location, violates Federal wiretapping law. Trevor Eckhart, who first discovered and outed what Carrier IQ was doing, went so far as to call it a “rootkit”.

“Take This Lollipop” – What it Is, and Why You Should Watch It

“Take This Lollipop”, the creepy Facebook tour through your personal information, is an excellent example of something we have been trying to pound into your heads all along: putting personal information on the Internet (such as location based check ins) can be dangerous. More to the point: most people have no idea how much personal information they really have revealed online, and how easy it is to track them down, stalking them, and worse. “Take this Lollipop” is technically a Facebook app, which is how (and why) it asks for you to log in using Facebook Connect, something that we also advise against.

Apple iPhone and iPad Spying On Users’ Physical and Geographic Locations (Updated!)

Researchers have discovered that Apple’s newest operating system, iOS4, is literally spying on iPhone and iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G users’ movements, using geolocation to create a file that records every place that the user carrying the device passes through. At least as bad, the file, called “consolidated.db”, not only is on your iPhone or iPad, but is unencrypted, meaning that anybody who can access the file can read your every move.