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Some apps creep me outPosted Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at 1:57 PM
I went to a workshop last week that showed me a wide array of neat tools I could use on my iPhone to make my job easier.
Live streaming applications, video editing apps and a way to type up a story on my phone and send it right to my boss.
I was so surprised at all the things I could do on the smartphone I used most frequently for Facebooking, Googling and texting.
What I wasn't expecting was the series of apps the speaker told us about that had a major creep-factor about them.
I want to first point out the irony in the third line of one application's description, calling it an "amazing app" by "LifeHacker."
I'm purposely not going to mention the names of the apps. I'm sure you could figure it out if you felt like being a creeper, but my sole intention is to inform what these apps are capable of.
I decided to try a couple of the apps to see just what they were capable of, but I couldn't figure them out. I guess you have to really be dedicated.
I think the main issue is I don't have a Twitter account.
The first app I downloaded -- temporarily -- explained it searches for people nearby who "have stuff in common with you".
What this "stuff" is, I'm not positive.
When I signed up for the app, it accessed my Facebook information, showing where I worked and what I do for a living.
It sends you push notifications (like a text message) to tell you who is nearby, and who you were near throughout the day.
From what I could tell, the information provided was based on people who also had the app downloaded.
The second app I decided to try out lets you know when you have social media "friends" in common with someone near you.
The speaker told us she was at an airport, and she got a notification saying someone near her was also friends with one of her Facebook friends.
The number one creeptastic (yes, I just made that word up) app I learned about can access all of your social media information just by having your "location services" on your smartphone turned on.
I couldn't download the app on my phone because I didn't have the proper iOS, but the speaker showed us she had hits from people within the room, and many more within a 17-mile radius.
You don't have to have the app downloaded on your phone for anyone to find your personal information.
It gets worse.
Say, you don't want to go across town to your favorite bar without knowing who is there. No problem! Just fire up the app and it will tell you who is there!
Can you imagine what kind of strange uses this app could have? It literally gives me chills.
The speaker's suggestion was to turn off your location services on your smartphone, unless you are using some sort of mapping application to find your way.
There is a downside to that even. If you lose your phone, your service provider can't track it down.
We live in such an advanced world where anything we could ever need to know can be stored in our back pocket, but of course someone has to find a way to use it negatively.
Sabrina is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 847-4487.
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