2014-01-30 16.08.32

App In Development Makes You Aware Of Other Apps That Grab Your Location

January 30, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

It seems that just about every other app is asking for your location these days. If it’s not Google Maps, than it’s Google+, Facebook, Google Search, Google Now, etc. Even some games and loads of various other apps use location for an enhanced(?) experience with the app. Location sharing is more or less a commonality in Android at this point, but some people have no idea which way or the other if their location is being shared with an app, unless the app sends a notification popup to your phone that it is asking for it. Which usually only happens if location is already turned off. Google makes it so that you can turn location sharing off as a feature, but then you ultimately lose the benefits of the apps that really do need it. Of course an easy way around that is just to be aware of which apps you use that you know need location sharing on, and turn it on at those points. The other trouble that people run into is when they have no idea if they’re sharing their location with an app, because the app is more or less spying on their location, or doesn’t inform the user. This is more difficult to detect unless have root access.

Thankfully, there is apparently in app in development right now that could make it to android before or right around Spring time, that warns users when apps are tracking their location, so they have a heads up on what is going on. If you’re someone who doesn’t take location sharing kindly especially when you didn’t know it was happening in the first place, this app might be of considerable interest to you. Upon an app grabbing your location, the location warning app would then have a large notification pop up displaying that your location has been accessed, saying “your location is accessed by…”, to tell you that an app you’re using is using is location grabbing.

Although Android already displays a little notification in the status bar about location whenever your location is being shared, interestingly enough some users are unaware of what this icon means. Being a former retail sales employee in the wireless industry, this doesn’t surprise me even in the slightest. In short, this app’s job is to help users who were previously or are currently unaware of when their locations are being shared with certain apps, to understand that they are sharing personal data about their location. In effect, if a user got such a warning about location sharing, they could then just turn off location from that point on. What do you think about an app like this? Surely it serves some great benefits to warn users about apps that are using their location, but is this app just enabling people not to learn which icons mean what? Would people be better off just turning location off, until they need to use an app that they know for certain needs to have it on to work effectively?

Source: MIT Technology Review|Via: Phone Arena