On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Is it possible to carry a smartphone and have secrets?

Share story

It's no secret that your smartphone knows a lot about you. Most people bring their devices with them everywhere they go--to work, to school, and to their homes. But, what a lot of people don't know is just how often their movements are logged and who has access to that data.

The New York Times found one woman whose location was tracked about once every 21 minutes and other people whose locations were tracked up to 14,000 times a day. The frequency of the tracking is staggering, but the specificity of the data is also alarming. The data points can reveal extremely personal information like the last time you visited the doctor's office, how long you stayed there, and if you stopped by an ex's house on the way home. 

So, what does this reporting mean for the roughly 77 percent of Americans who own smartphones? Today on MPR News, guest host Euan Kerr talked with a technology reporter and an expert in technology and public policy about how consumer data is collected, sold and used by businesses, and what you can do to protect your privacy online. 

Resources:

Surveillance Self-Defense: Tips, Tools and How-Tos for Safer Online Communications produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

How to Stop Apps from Tracking Your Location

Guests: Natasha Singer — Technology reporter at the New York Times

Sascha Meinrath — Chair in telecommunications and director of the "X Lab" at Penn State