U.S. carriers are no longer sharing customer location data

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Significant Locations
Your location data is no longer up for grabs.
Photo: Cult of Mac

U.S. carriers have (mostly) put an end to the practice of selling customer location data to third-parties, a new report reveals.

This dodgy practice was previously carried out by giants including T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. They passed on this data to middlemen, which then sold the information to other companies without getting the necessary permission from users.

Facebook wants to secretly snatch your Instagram location data

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Instagram lawsuit
Facebook wants your Instagram data.
Photo: Pixabay

Instagram is starting to integrate more closely with Facebook when it comes to your personal location data.

The app is reportedly testing a new feature that would allow Instagram to share all of your GPS coordinates with Facebook without ever opening up the Facebook app. This would allow Facebook to gather more information on you so it can serve up more targeted ads and content, but that might piss off some Instagram fans.

Your location has been shared more than 5,000 times in the last two weeks

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How much is your smartphone spying on you? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
How much is your smartphone spying on you? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Smartphone users know that sharing personal data with apps can be part of the price of free apps, but when it comes to how frequently those apps give that data to third parties, the numbers will shock you.

A new study by Carnegie Mellon found that some smartphone users’ data is shared more than 5,000 times with third parties in a two-week period. Most people are totally clueless this is happening, but the study found that when people learn how much frequently data is being shared, they act rapidly to shut down the spread of personal info.

How to nuke pesky location data from your iPhone photos

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"You were in Vegas without me!?" Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

These days, any photo you shoot with your iPhone or other smartphone will typically contain location data (unless you have that feature turned off) to allow apps like iPhoto to place your images on a map.

Even photo-sharing services use this data, with some — like Flickr — posting it prominently on your photo pages (along with all the other EXIF data, like shutter speed and f-stop).

If you don’t want the location of your photos to be known, the Yosemite version of OS X’s Preview can take care of it for you. Let’s strip that location data before we post that photo to the Web, OK?