The Death of Location Tracking Spyware

In the past few months, Apple and Google have both announced major upgrades to their mobile operating systems, and it’s bad news for spyware built into mobile apps. In fact, a recent report revealed that 96% of users opted to stop tracking, far higher than many pundits predicted. We are not surprised.

Examples of the potential pitfalls of fine-grained, always-on location tracking are abundant. TikTok’s ability to track US Government employees around the clock left them open to potential embarrassment and even blackmail. Until now, location tracking by apps meant more than just knowing your location to deliver relevant weather – always-on tracking also meant your specific location could be shared with anyone willing to pay via data providers such as X-Mode, Predicio, or Bable Street

In June, Apple announced that iOS 15 delivered extensive privacy enhancements built into the operating system. In the App Privacy Report, users can see how often each app has used the permission they’ve previously granted to access things like their location. What’s more, with ‘share current location’, users can share their current location with an app just once, without giving the developer further access after that session.  

Similarly, in May Google announced that Android 12 includes a Privacy Dashboard which provides quick visibility into which apps are tracking your location. What’s more, the new release will not only empower users to allow location tracking only when using the app (or deny location entirely), but will also provide the option to allow fine-grained or coarse location. In a nutshell, more visibility and control over location tracking for consumers, which consumers will use abundantly. 

Privacy regulations vary by country, and sometimes even within countries. However, the trend is both clear and accelerating: consumers simply do not want their locations to be tracked. Consumers will not stand for ‘always on’ spyware, and governments regulators are slowly catching on. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe has very specific restrictions related to location tracking, and more regulations are on their way in the US. 

BlueZoo occupancy measurement technology was designed from the ground up to protect privacy and is GDPR certified compliant. We never track individuals, and we never store personal information. 

It is not hyperbole to state the end is near for location tracking software, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

This article was originally published on BlueZoo’s blog

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

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