You're being watched constantly, at least if you have a cell phone with apps on them. A recently published report showed how seemingly innocuous apps were gathering information about how a person goes about their day. They refresh constantly, collecting data about your location.
These companies are tracking every step you take, every stop you make, and then selling it to the highest bidder.
Now, before I get the predictable chorus of people telling me they'd never ever use a smartphone and that if they did have one they wouldn't enable location data on it, I can call BS (baloney sandwiches) on at least 44% of you because…well…Google tells me this. I get emails from Google every week telling me from what type of devices people access my website. I did not sign up to ask for this information – this is what Google does.
So while many of you are not using a mobile device, many of you are.
How the location apps are tracking every step you take
Everyone looks like dots on a map to the smartphone apps, but the information that can be put together is positively chilling. Here's what a day looks like for one of these "dots" on a map:
Yet another leaves a house in upstate New York at 7 a.m. and travels to a middle school 14 miles away, staying until late afternoon each school day. Only one person makes that trip: Lisa Magrin, a 46-year-old math teacher. Her smartphone goes with her.
An app on the device gathered her location information, which was then sold without her knowledge. It recorded her whereabouts as often as every two seconds, according to a database of more than a million phones in the New York area that was reviewed by The New York Times. While Ms. Magrin's identity was not disclosed in those records, The Times was able to easily connect her to that dot.
The app tracked her as she went to a Weight Watchers meeting and to her dermatologist's office for a minor procedure. It followed her hiking with her dog and staying at her ex-boyfriend's home, information she found disturbing.
"It's the thought of people finding out those intimate details that you don't want people to know," said Ms. Magrin, who allowed The Times to review her location data.