In recent times, a lot of talk has been made concerning the fact that companies know your location via the Internet. Unless you are connected via VPN, some proxy, or you’re using TOR’s onion routing, you can’t really hide or be anonymous on the Web.
In this article, we’ll look at some methods by which your location can be tracked because in the end, you should know enough in order to make better decisions concerning your privacy.
1. Your IP address
When allocating internet addresses, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) usually have a range of addresses associated with a sector within the coverage area. And for people who are well-versed in tracking tools, that should be enough to tell them about your location.
Although your country can be found out using the IP, no one can find your street address using it. For companies and advertisers, that makes it easier for them to target ads to you. The ads you see on the websites you visit and even some apps you use, are as a result of them knowing where your IP is located.
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2. Cell towers and antennas
Your phone is always connected to a cell tower, which is within 45 miles (~70 km) of the SIM card powering your network service. Having the identification number (Cell ID) of that tower will give any app an idea of where in the world you are. Other factors such as signal strength and data exchange time between your device and the tower can give a more precise idea to whoever is observing you.
Using mobile Internet through your cellular network, will keep you in constant communication with its tower. This makes it easier to track you down.
3. GPS provides no cover
Although apps often give you the option to disable GPS location tracking, they go ahead and make use of your antenna, anyway. Apps with a built-in “disable GPS tracking” option override that option whenever they want to. Manually disabling your antenna is the only way to be certain that you’re not being tracked.
Companies sometimes use GPS data as a way of understanding their users’ movements during the day — in order to anticipate the needs that matter to them; through their schedules and routines.
Okay. That’s that for now. Are you protecting your location privacy or your attitude towards it is more of “what can come can come”? Do tell. We’re interested in knowing.