Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller, is putting a focus on companies that are tracking your data and urging consumers to take precautions. Connected devices, such as phones or home hubs can make our lives easier, but they can also collect personal information, follow your movements and more that can then be shared for others to use. Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and others are mining this data to generate targeted ads as well as a means to enhance or increase their own products and services. For instance, on June 8, Amazon launched Sidewalk, which allows other Amazon devices connection access to your network automatically. Even though you don’t have to share all of your information with that particular app, you can also take additional steps to curb some data tracking activity. Most smartphones allow the users to set privacy settings. Under those privacy settings may be an advertising identifier. Resetting this will eliminate any previous data associated with your phone. You can limit app tracking by not allowing permission for apps to track your usage and location and you can limit access to your device location. Some products will allow you to stop ad personalization in the privacy settings and many tech companies allow users to opt-out-directly. Going back to the Sidewalk example, consumers not wishing to participate can simply choose to turn off the option in the settings of their Alexa mobile app, which serves as a hub for all their Amazon connected devices. More tips on how to protect your privacy online, through apps and on connected devices can be found at the Federal Trade Commission’s website, a link to which is included below.
FTC website tips: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-protect-your-privacy-online