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How Safe Is Your Privacy When Using Mobile Apps?

Are companies like Uber spying on you when you install their apps on your smartphone? Possibly. Here’s how you can protect yourself

It’s been said that you should always be careful of what you say in public, for you never know who might be listening to you. Emil Michael would have been wise to heed this advice.

The senior vice president of business for Uber Inc., one of Silicon Valley’s most successful startups, has cast his company in an unfavorable light after suggesting at a dinner party last November that Uber ought to combat the negative media coverage it gets by digging up unsavory details on the reporters that write detrimentally about his company. To the consternation of many, he revealed it’s possible for the Uber mobile app to spy on people who have the app installed on their smartphones.

Uber is a mobile-based transportation network that allows its users to order a taxicab via their mobile phones versus calling a cab company. It’s a handy tool particularly when you’re visiting a city you’re unfamiliar with and you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

The company has at times had rocky relations with its users, taxi drivers, municipal governments, and the media in particular, hence Michael’s regrettable remarks. Little did he know a reporter was within earshot at the time.

It leaves you wondering what the ramifications are of trusting private companies with access to your personal data and your whereabouts when you opt to download and use a mobile app. That’s the bigger issue to consider beyond Uber itself: how to safeguard your privacy.

So what can you do?

Start by considering the access you’re granting to any company when you agree to their terms and conditions for using their mobile app. Carefully review the permissions the app asks for. Are you sure you’re comfortable giving those companies unfettered access to your smartphone?

Use encryption on your phone and turn off its location aware features. Mobile apps can use your phone’s GPS data to detect where in the world you are at any given time. And stick to only downloading apps from either the Apple App Store or Google Play store (depending on what device you use).

Want to learn more about how you can protect your and your employees’ privacy and data on mobile devices? Give us a call at 866-784-8326 or email us at info@alvareztg.com. Alvarez Technology Group is the leading IT consulting firm for computer and business IT support throughout Monterey, Salinas, and the Bay Area.

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