Your phone within its little shell carries the whole world. In terms of mass it most certainly doesn’t, but in terms of information—your phone is the most knowledgeable thing we’ve ever seen.
Your phone might know your heartbeat, your blood type, your inner most secrets, it can access the entire host of information available on the web, and it can access a map of pretty much anywhere.
It’s not an issue that such a wealth of information is available to your pocket companion; it’s just how it merges it with reality—in particular the use of your GPS information.
Location services, as Apple chooses to name them, are very easy to give permission to. You’re just presented with a small dialog box asking you for permission to access your location, and that’s that. At no point in the process do the ramifications of location sharing become evident.
Friends and family can know your exact location at any given time with services such as Find My Friends. There isn’t a problem with this per se. However, if you ask anyone in the modern world the question, “Do you really know who your friends on social media actually are?” The vast majority of them will ponder, umming and erring until arriving at: “Well, I don’t actually.”
These days we accept anyone and everyone who sends us a friend request, and with location services now built into almost every app (including some games!) these people have access to your exact location.
These location services also sync up together, so many apps will sync with Facebook and Twitter, publishing your location information there without asking for explicit permission every time. It’s implied when you accept the syncing with Facebook and accept the location service in the first instance.
You can however opt out of location services; you can go to your settings and turn off these services for individual applications. Unfortunately, for many apps the location is necessary for the functionality of the app.
So next time you want to check in at “Dave’s House” or send a tweet from the office, think again and ask yourself, “Who can access my location?”