Smartphones have an internal GPS system that allows 9-1-1 operators to pinpoint your location, even if you are lost and have no idea of your precise location. I’m confident the tracking system has saved countless lives when serious accidents occur at some nameless and remote Interstate location.
Unfortunately, the same GPS data can inadvertently be provided to other applications on the phone and literally broadcast your location in real time. On Feb. 2, WBIR, a Tennessee NBC affiliate, used a free app to locate a “friend” in a busy section of downtown Knoxville using geotagging. A single social media post, according to the report, triangulated the “victim.”
The app they used for tracking is free. It even includes the ability for a friend to be “pinged” when one of their associates is in the immediate area, according to one 2011 review.
Who hasn’t wanted a magical homing device for certain family members at huge sporting events or amusement parks? Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to all this socialization and our reality-TV dreams can provide perps a decided advantage.
I reported before about a gal shot by a burglar who knew she was away because of a Facebook post. Efforts to be Kim K popular provide a wealth of information for savvy criminals, and if they know how to mine that geotagging data…wait, there’s an app for that, probably a dozen.
WBIR’s report has instructions on how to disable third-party app access to your phone’s GPS system—and it’s the least you can do to ensure your gun collection doesn’t become an easy target.