Consumer Advocate

Sign up for newsletters and other news
Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > June 2011 > What is your smartphone saying about you?

Consumer Advocate RSS feeds

What is your smartphone saying about you?


If you use your smartphone to upload photos to social networking websites such as Facebook or MySpace, your phone may be releasing your personal information and location without your knowledge.

For years, experts have warned web users to avoid posting too much personal information, such as street address, date of birth, or license plate numbers, to protect against online predators.  

Now, even if you do not actively post information about your location on your profile, your smartphone may be releasing that information.

Most smartphones come equipped with GPS (Globe Positioning System) technology. This allows many smartphones the capability of geotagging your photos when you take them.  The geotag data is then uploaded with your photos onto the social networks showing when and where the photo was taken.

If parents use their smartphones to post online photos of their children in various favorite spots, such as parks, schools, or bedrooms, an online stranger may be able to track those specific spots, just by checking the geotag information. 

To protect yourself and your family, you can turn off the “location services” on your cell phone. This information is usually in your general phone settings. If you need assistance, call your service provider.


File a consumer complaint - Ohio Attorney General’s Office

Request a free consumer awareness workshop – Ohio Attorney General’s Office

Sign up to receive the Consumer Advocate e-newsletter – Ohio Attorney General’s Office