Beware of find-my-phone, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, NSA tells mobile users

 In Biz & IT, location data, mobile devices, National Security Agency, NSA, Policy, Privacy, Tech

Beware of find-my-phone, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, NSA tells mobile users

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The National Security Agency is recommending that some government workers and people generally concerned about privacy turn off find-my-phone, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth whenever those services are not needed, as well as limit location data usage by apps.

“Location data can be extremely valuable and must be protected,” an advisory published on Tuesday stated. “It can reveal details about the number of users in a location, user and supply movements, daily routines (user and organizational), and can expose otherwise unknown associations between users and locations.”

NSA officials acknowledged that geolocation functions are enabled by design and are essential to mobile communications. The officials also admit that the recommended safeguards are impractical for most users. Mapping, location tracking of lost or stolen phones, automatically connecting to Wi-Fi networks, and fitness trackers and apps are just a few of the things that require fine-grained locations to work at all.

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And don’t forget to limit ad tracking. Advisory contains a host of recommendations.

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