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Protestesting and Your Privacy. Staying Safe and Off The Grid When Speaking Your Mind

Apps, Geofencing and Your Location Settings Are Tracking YOU.

And not just tracking your location, but also storing your location and sharing your location. Think about that as you go about your day, no matter where you are, is it really anyone's business? 

We talk about this a lot at Tech Wellness and we urge you to be aware that most of the Apps on your phone can track you.  The good news is you have the power to say no by turning off location services or GPS.  Please do.

But then, also remember that as long as your phone can communicate via WiFi or Cell signal, your phone tells Apple or Google or Your mobile provider-- ATT, Verizon, Sprint etc. where you are.

Your Phone Can Reveal Your Location

It's called Geo-fencing and it's how advertisers know to deliver an ad to your smartphone when you're walking by it's store.  But it can also be used to know where you are anywhere--like when you're protesting perhaps.

Geofence Tracking at Recent Protests

It's not just advertisers who are using this technology... Police have been known to acquire geofencing data to help solve crimes and target suspects. 

Based on the state of the protests, the authorities in many states have been given the 'OK' to conduct surveillance on protesters. Recent reports have shown that this includes using this same Geofencing technology to track down the people who may have been in the vicinity of a crime or violation of curfews during the protests and use as reason for arrest. Nope, not ok with me!

Simple Tip For Protecting Your Location At Anytime:  Airplane Mode

If you are attending a protest and don't feel comfortable with the possibility of being identified or tracked via your phone, Airplane Mode is a good idea. This will allow you to still take pictures while minimizing the risk of being tracked. 

Turn Tracking Off: Disable Bluetooth, WiFi and Cell Signal or Put It In A Faraday

Will it stop all tracking?. No, but to track someone with the phone in full Airplane Mode would require equipment most police departments don’t have - though some “agencies” do. 

Law enforcement can use Geofencing techniques during the protests, but our Cyber expert Bryan Neumeister tells us

If you go into airplane mode - geofencing is basically useless. If you try to shut it down by app... I really don’t feel safe about that. Too many ways to get around it- and its always prudent to be as stealthy as possible in a high risk situation.

womens faraday

Of course a Faraday, with it's complete signal blocking ability is always your best option to be as stealth and safe as possible and we have so many lovely options to choose from. Even Forbes agrees on the effectiveness of a Faraday bag in protection your privacy in a recent article outlining 11 Ways to Protect Your Privacy at a Protest. 

So now what? 

What do you do with all this info? Here are some options to help protect your privacy: 

  1. As we mentioned, keep your phone in a Faraday Bag as much as you can. Especially when in a high risk situations like a protest. 
  2. If you don't have a Faraday - choose Airplane Mode whenever possible (bonus! It reduces your exposure to EMF Radiation as well.) 
  3. Stay informed! Do your research, keep asking questions, and take back your privacy. 

Here's to staying secure, private and healthy. Be Well! 

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