The enormous companies dominating Silicon Valley have gained a large portion of their power and earning capability by gathering up troves of data on ordinary people just like you.
It’s common knowledge that Facebook makes money from selling access to its users to the highest bidding advertisers.
For example, a new company is marketing its products or services to people who fit into certain demographics. It wants to target women in their 60s who live in big cities or middle-aged women who spend more time in outlet malls far away from downtown shopping districts. Location data helps companies hone in on potential customers.
Facebook doesn’t want to know just what your hobbies and interests are and where you stand politically or what your religious beliefs are. It also wants to keep track of where you go, when, and why.
Imagine now that a company would like to send you a coupon for an outlet when you happen to be physically near the store. This is possible because your iPhone transmits its location as you move around.
It’s necessary to know where you are so that cell phone towers can keep you connected to the network while in transit. This allows you to use your iPhone for navigation in a mapping app, for example.
However, information about your location is stored in a way that you may not be aware of. When you take a picture with your iPhone, by default it’s saved with what’s known as “metadata.” Metadata shows the time and GPS coordinates of where the picture was shot.
That’s convenient because now you don’t have to tag and label each picture when shooting, as noted by Forbes. The Exchangeable Image File or EXIF metadata includes details about the camera settings too.
But the real value is in it recording what iPhone model you used and exactly when and where each image was made. It’s easy for Silicon Valley companies to put together a list of your activities and where you travel, based on data stored with these images.
Now this could be a good thing if you’d like advertising that’s more in-tune with your needs. Maybe you’re thinking, I have nothing to hide, let them know I go to Starbucks every morning.
Or, if you’re more privacy-minded, you may want to disable Facebook Tracking. Here’s how you can do it…
Disable Facebook Tracking in a Few Easy Steps
Tap the “Settings” icon on your iPhone’s home screen.
Tap “Location Services” and then select the option “Never” next to the “Privacy” setting.
If you want to prevent your iPhone’s camera from recording locations of each image you take, tap “Location Services,” then tap “Camera” and then select the “Never” option. Otherwise, you can download an EXIF app that will strip metadata (location information) from your photos before you post them on Facebook or anywhere else. Consumer Reports provides insight here about scrubbing location data from your iPhone.