Location tracking has made things convenient beyond measure. From easily hiring an Uber to finding restaurants near you, there are several ways location tracking has impacted our lives. Every technological breakthrough comes with its pros and cons, and smartphone tracking is no exception. With this convenience, an increasing number of people are also concerned due to the privacy issues that arise with it.
Hence, while smartphone tracking does, mostly, have good intentions, these intentions have the potential to go wrong, too. To determine the extent, let’s highlight the advantages and disadvantages of location tracking.
Advantages of location tracking
Perhaps the most significant advantage that’s resulted from location tracking on your smartphone is the ease by which emergency responders can locate you. Previously, these services utilized triangulation to determine a caller’s location by using mobile masts to measure signal strength. This form of tracking was more inaccurate and slower than smartphone tracking.
Apart from this, location tracking can also people find their phones when it’s lost or stolen. The majority of smartphones today are equipped with technology that provides you with real-time updates on your phone’s location. As long as your device is charged and active, it’ll keep sending you a broadcast signal until you find it.
The same feature can be used to track your family members, which is especially useful for parents. If you’re worried about your elderly relative or child getting, then mobile tracking can tell you exactly where they are.
Additionally, social networking applications also use mobile tracking to send you information about your friends in the same area as you, making it much easier for you and your circle to find each other. For instance, you can share your live location with your friends on Google Maps, so they’ll know where you are during a trip.
Furthermore, for a delivery service provider, location tracking also helps provide a better experience to customers as real-time updates can tell customers when they’re receiving their deliveries and where it currently is.
The downsides of location tracking
Just like trackers allow smartphone users to share their location with their friends and family members, this also puts them at risk of sharing their locations with stalkers. This is especially dangerous for children, who may end up doing this unknowingly by permitting anyone to track their location. Parents need to be mindful enough to create restrictions by preventing their kids from adding followers inside an app.
Additionally, companies can also use location tracking to send targeted ads. While this improves marketing efforts, it also means that customers are more exposed than they ever were, and advertisers now have detailed insights into their demographics and buying habits. While some people aren’t concerned about this, it can leave you extremely exposed when using features like “check-in.”
Moreover, mobile phone carriers may also sell real-time customer locations to data brokers, who sell the information to law enforcement, and other agencies, which skips the formality of obtaining a court order. These data brokers could potentially sell the location to anyone, which puts people at risk.
Many security experts understand that it’s next to impossible to prevent your phone from tracking your location. In fact, many apps won’t even function properly without using mobile tracking.
There are upsides and downsides, both to location tracking. As awareness of it goes, more people will get concerned about its repercussions. However, it also increases the responsibility businesses have to ensure they’re protecting their customers’ data and respecting their privacy.