Handheld gadgets and social networks are all the rage these days. If you're one of the millions who use them, you may be surprised to know information about you is being collected, and sometimes shared with others. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself.
Privacy policies are used in all sorts of businesses, from banking to online shopping sites. Among other things, they explain what types of information the business collects from its customers, how that information is stored and kept safe, and with whom your information might be shared.
For instance, it's not uncommon for businesses to keep track of customers' names and addresses and purchase histories and to share some of that information with their affiliates or business partners.
Perhaps with the increased use of handheld devices and gadgets, increased popularity of social networking sites, and technological advances, there seems to be a trend of changing privacy policies and collecting more user information. Sometimes, the changes cause some concern, too.
So, it's possible that, after you log on to your Facebook account and later go to one of the pre-approved sites, that site may know your name, gender, the names of your Facebook "friends," and it may even have your Facebook picture. And it gets that information without your knowledge or express consent.
For the most part, your personal information is made public by default - meaning you have to go into your preferences and manually "turn-off" Facebook's ability to share this information.
According to Apple, it collects this information so it can provide location-based services to its customers, like GPS maps. In the past, Apple relied on third parties, like Google Maps, for information and data. Now, the company is building its own database and uses information collected from some users' iPhones.
Also, the company claims information is collected only from customers who approve the use of location-based tools on their phones and actually use a GPS tool or "app."
Apple also explained how and why it collects "diagnostic" information on specific phones. With the user's express consent, it collects location-specific information about the phone to see, for example, if calls are "dropped" more often in specific locations.
Next: Protect your information