Ways to protect your location data

July 25, 2022

Since the enactment of abortion restrictions in Texas there have been instances of location data for visits to planned parenthood being sold by data brokers surfaced. This is a serious threat to individual privacy and goes beyond states with restrictive abortion rights. 

One way to protect privacy is to completely turn off the location based services on the phones. This is not ideal, as a lot of apps that use from navigation to banking need location data. 

So what can you do to protect your privacy and more specifically location data getting sold by data brokers.

1. Opt-out of personalized advertising on iphone/android and reset your advertising id on an ongoing basis

    a. Path on an iphone: Settings -> Privacy ->Apple advertising

    b. Path on an android: 

        i. Settings ->Google->Ads->Opt-out of Ads Personalization
           or
        ii. Settings ->Privacy manager->Ads->Opt-out of Ads Personalization

    c. Path to reset advertising id: Settings ->Google->Ads-> Reset advertising id

    d. Path to opt-out of cross app tracking (iphone only): 

        Settings ->Privacy->Tracking

2. Opt-out of mobile-location analytics: https://smart-places.org/

3. Opt-out of from cell phone carriers selling your location data:

  • T-mobile: Magenta mobile advertising platform is T-mobile location based advertising program. You can opt-out of it here: https://www.pushspring.com/optout.html
  • Verizon: calls their program custom experiences. To opt out of Custom Experience:

        ◦ Go to the Privacy preferences page in My Verizon.
        ◦ Scroll to the Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus sections and update your settings.
        ◦ Go to the Privacy preferences page in My Verizon.
        ◦ Scroll to the Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus sections and update your settings.

        ◦ Log in with your phone number and password
        ◦ You will now find yourself on AT&T’s privacy settings page, which includes the following blurb: “Our External Marketing and Analytics Reports contain anonymous information about groups of our customers. You may choose to exclude the anonymous information from your accounts from these reports. Please log in to each one of your accounts to opt-out.”
        ◦ Check the box next to each wireless phone line you wish to opt-out with
        ◦ Click the “Submit” button

4. Limit the number of apps you share location data with. Not all apps need access to your location data all the time. Limit location data access to only when accessing the app or never allow it

    a. Path on iphone: Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services
    b. Path on android: Settings -> Location -> App permissions