The proverbial “location, location, location” in real estate refers to the idea that value is primarily determined by location. This is also true for data collecting taking place online: your location history is real, useful information.
You probably leave a breadcrumb trail of location information every day, but you can tidy it up and keep more of your personal life private by doing a few simple steps.
What Is Location History?
Your location history is a collection of data that is created when your location is continuously tracked and kept. This is rich personal data that displays the times and dates of your trips to particular destinations. It may also contain information about the number and length of your stops along the journey.
By connecting all of that location history, businesses are able to build a comprehensive picture of you and draw conclusions about your hobbies, habits, activities, where you live and work, and even some highly personal details that you may not want to disclose at all.
How Is Location Data Used?
Certain apps rely on location to work effectively, such as GPS navigation or map navigation. Retracing your steps to historical locations, such as returning to the small store in Florence where you bought lovely stationery two years ago, can be facilitated by location history.
However, marketing firms take advantage of location data for advertising and marketing campaigns. They can also utilize your location to target you with promotions based on where you are, a practice known as “marketing.” When you go out around lunchtime on errands, are you close to a particular restaurant? It’s possible that you’ll see an advertisement for it on your phone right before lunch.
Access to particular content can also be allowed or denied based on location. Internet content may be “geo-blocked” or geographically restricted in some regions due to your IP address—which functions something like a mailing address—and the things you do online. Geo-blocking may occur as a result of government control, limited licensing rights, or copyright restrictions.
Who Can View Your Location Data?
Websites can also determine your approximate location by using your IP address or by asking you directly. However, some websites go one step further and ask for additional information, such as your zip code, in order to display different content or search results to you depending on where you are.
How to Disable Location Request Prompts?
Are you sick of websites requesting your location? To stop the requests, follow these steps:
Firefox: Type “about preferences#privacy.” Navigate to Settings > Location > Permissions. “Block new requests asking to access your location” should be selected. Learn more about Firefox’s location-sharing features.
Safari: Select Location under Settings > Websites. Choose “Deny access when visiting other websites.”
Chrome: Navigate to Site Settings under Privacy and Security in Chrome. Next, choose “Don’t allow sites to see your location” by clicking on Location.
Edge: Navigate to Settings > Site permissions > Location under Settings and more. Choose “Ask prior to accessing.”