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How Your Phone Is Spying On You

It knows a lot of things about you.

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1. It's tracking your every move

Your phone knows where you are, where you’ve been and has a good idea of where you’ll go. From when you left your house this morning to where you went for lunch and even the last time you were at the doctors - it knows a lot about you!

Don’t believe us? Well check your phone and see for yourself.

Got an iPhone? Then go to settings -> privacy -> location services -> system services -> frequent locations.

Think it’s better for Android? Think again. Google record where you’ve been in even more detail. Just go to Google maps and check out your timeline. This info allows them to bombard you with requests, like rating the last bar, club or pub you were in. They’ve recently started asking questions about it such as if it’s a good place to meet single people!

Freaked out? Want to turn it all off? Then check out Big Brother Watch's handy guide to managing your location history.

2. Helping all your apps track you as well

It’s not just your phone that’s tracking where you go – loads of companies love a bit of tracking. Many of them use their apps to follow you all day, every day.

Cab company Uber store knowledge of every trip their customers take. This might help you remember how you got home, but it’s not so great when it reminds you of that best forgotten booty call, something they even blogged about.

Meanwhile there's Strava, the app your lycra wearing, bike obsessed friends are using. It's great for boasting to other Wiggin-Wannabees about how fast you've gone, but it's also a handy tool for thieves giving them a route to where your house is, what time you leave and what expensive bike they can nab!

Then there's Snapchat. As you can’t screenshot or save photos you'd have thought it was great for privacy right?

Think again. It doesn’t stop loads of people using third party apps such as Snapsaved to save the photos. Don't think that's a big problem? Well it became a big one when it was revealed that Snapsaved was saving your photos to cloud servers when they were hacked in 2014.

When it comes to photos you don’t want shared, it’s probably best not to leave them in the hands of a company you can’t trust. NOTHING is ever really deleted on the internet, it just can’t be seen by you.

Different apps have different reasons to collect data. Both Uber and Strava obviously need location services to function. But many apps don’t and if you want to make sure apps aren't taking more of your data than you’d like – check out our guide to Mobile Apps.

3. Tagging your photos without you knowing

This next one is particularly spooky.

All phones have the ability to record the location of a photo using the handset’s GPS tracker and embed it in the image itself! Great for sorting photos by location, not so good for privacy.

So that photo you’ve taken in your bedroom for a dating profile? Yeah, well thanks to your phone logging all the location data it could be used by anyone to pinpoint where you live. Creepy right!

Thankfully Twitter and Facebook strip the data from images when you upload them, but lots of sites don’t so it’s best to disable it. For a guide on how to turn geo-tagging off by default, look here

4. Snooping on your internet history

You know that little pop-up that er.. pops up, every time you go on a new website? The one that says they’ll be using cookies to “personalise your content?" Do you even know what that’s about and what happens if you click it or ignore it?

Some cookies are used to make the website work but others are used to track you round the internet. This page will be sending tracking cookies to your device as you read this - something you should definitely not be happy about!

Want to know what's what and how to fix this? Then check out our factsheet.

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