Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: location services

Figuring Out Location Services

Currently, I am still very early in the process for writing my practical cryptography paper. I am starting to realize the amount of effort the paper will  take, which gives me a sense of urgency to really get underway. So far, I have really enjoyed thinking about the ways that I will be able to relate the ideas in my paper to other college students’ lives. Location services is an interesting topic because it is very prevalent right now. People in the United States are becoming wary of the control that government can have in their lives. Therefore, it is possible that people will want to take steps in order to protect their location. The difficult question that I will have to deal with is why people will want to take these steps.

 

If a mother and father wish to take a family trip to New York and take pictures of their kids in front of the Statue of Liberty, they will want to post a geotag to show off their family vacation to an awesome city. However, they are much less likely to want a geotag if they are taking pictures of their kids inside of their home. This is just one side to location services. I am still early in the writing process and there is much to learn about why location services should be concerning to the average college student.

Don’t be a Cyber Idiot

For this blog assignment, I have decided to respond to the article discovered by Nate called “The 5 biggest online privacy threats of 2013”. This article is based around protecting online users from privacy threats. Based off this reading, the number one way for college students to protect themselves is by limiting the amount of personal data they post on the Internet. Understanding this is vital to having a safe four years in college and for protecting their future. The article says “you love how easy it is to grab data from the cloud – and so do law enforcement agencies” (Riofrio, 2014). I find this especially interesting because of the recent iCloud hackings. Riofrio said to protect yourself from posting personal things into the cloud because there are definitely “privacy loopholes”. Jennifer Lawrence and multiple other celebrities should have heeded her warning. She also says that the increase in law-enforcement agencies’ requests of cloud-based data is increasing at an alarming rate. Although this article was written in 2013, I think it is a safe assumption to say the same is true this year.

Another risk that is common, and I would guess even more common in college students, is checking into locations on FB or dropping pins that are very trackable. Riofrio says that it is easy for the government to obtain location data and that the laws protecting mobile service users are “not horribly stringent”. Personally, I have location services turned off to avoid giving away location data and I refrain myself from checking into places on Facebook or other social medias. I suggest other students do the same. Riofrio discusses other alarming ideas in her article including tags on Facebook leading to tracking of people and the government misinterpreting security threats. Although there are many different strategies for online protection, in my opinion, the best one is just to be smart and limit the amount of personal data on the Internet.

Limiting Use of Location Services

Many college students sacrifice a large part of their privacy every day. They download a new app, and when it requests to use their location data, they agree without even thinking about it. While these services can certainly make things more convenient—you can quickly know what restaurants are around you, or find the closest gas station in seconds—using them means that your phone is continuously broadcasting where you are and what you’re doing. Using social networking apps can make this information even more blatantly obvious: by uploading geotagged photos you create a map of your activities and locations that would be fairly easy for someone to access.

In order to better protect their online privacy, students should better educate themselves about how their phone’s location services work and exactly what information they are sending out to the world. One of the easiest things to do is to simply avoid sharing where you are on social media—especially if you’re somewhere you can be found regularly. Additionally, you can more selectively use apps that require location data by leaving location services turned off most of the time, and only switching it back on if you absolutely need to. Taking steps like these only requires seconds of your time, but it makes a world of difference to your level of personal privacy.

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