Location-based services are some of the most useful services that have come about in recent years. The fact that you are able to find restaurants in your area at the click of a button or hire a car to take you wherever you want would have been thought of as impossible just a decade ago. However, the amazing utility and convenience of these services come at a price.
We will take you through some of the dangers that come about whenever you use your phone to or computer to access location-based services. We will also tell you a one-stop solution for all of the dangers that we mention.
Advantages of location-based services
Location-based services have a plethora of advantages. One of the biggest online services that utilize your location is Uber, which allows you to travel wherever you want at your convenience by hiring a car and a driver for a small fee. Uber did not stop there, as they launched Uber-Eats which allows you to order food and have it delivered right to your doorstep.
You also have other advantages of using location-based services, many of which make your everyday life safer. For example, you now have the option of tying your credit card to your phone location so that your card is only usable if your phone shows you at the same location where the card is used.
There are numerous other location-based services which allow you to enjoy unprecedented convenience and entertainment such as Netflix (which localizes its catalog for each country) and BBC iPlayer (works only in the UK) among many others.
How to use location-based services safely
Before we tell you about some of the dangers of location-based services, let us tell you about an easy way to avoid all the hassle and enjoy a safe online experience. If you use a VPN, you will be able to spoof your location (to enjoy services such as Netflix US or UK with larger catalogs), encrypt all your information, and make sure no one is able to invade your privacy.
NordVPN is a great VPN that has some of the best security available. NordVPN has servers in over 60 countries, meaning that you can enjoy country-specific services. On top of that, it has other important features such as the ability to use torrents (using their dedicated P2P servers), have your traffic routed through two secure servers instead of one (Double VPN), and military-grade AES-256 bit encryption).
One important thing to remember is that you will need to provide your location manually on services such as Uber if you use a VPN since your VPN will spoof your location. You can safely provide a manual location when using a VPN due to your traffic being encrypted.
5 things that make location-based services intrusive to your privacy
Your location can be tracked
This one is quite obvious, but it needs to be mentioned. If someone manages to hack into the application that uses your location, they can easily track all of your movements. There is a chance that this is done with malicious intent and ends up harming you massively.
Data is stored
That’s right, once someone accesses your location, they can store it in their database for further reference. This means that they can track places that you frequent and use it for whatever purpose they see fit.
Data is sold
This is another huge problem which has been confirmed by numerous reputable sources such as CNET. There have been many different lawsuits in the last few years which were based on the fact that the defendants had sold location data from their applications to third parties.
This data can be collected or many different reasons. For example, marketing agencies can purchase this data so as to better tailor their ads to specific people (for example, Airbnb could show you ads which advertise rooms in Washington if it finds out that you are vacationing there).
Continuing on from what we mentioned above, many companies often end up buying location data for hundreds of thousands of dollars so as to categorize people by location and launch tailor-made marketing campaigns for them.
It is possible for ads to simply annoy you due to you being bombarded with them. It is fine if you find out where you can get the best ice-cream in Reno, but it is not a fun experience to see the same ad being shown again and again.
It is also possible for someone who wants to physically harm you or rob your house to hack into your phone and get access to your location. Professional thieves can track your every movement and use pattern-recognition to find out where you live. This way, they would be able to raid your house when you are not there, making the entire process much easier.