NEW YORK – There’s a hidden feature on your cell phone tracking your every move. Software on Apple and Android devices keeps a record of your daily routine.
It’s called "frequent locations," which is stored deep in a maze of privacy settings. It tracks time, dates and how long you stay somewhere. It even knows where you live and work, based on your time and trips there.
“That’s pretty scary I would never know a phone would have that much access,” iPhone user Allie Salgado said.
Patrick J. Brosnan is a security expert and retired NYPD detective. He likened it to a Pandora’s Box for law enforcement.
“It’s both a homing device and it’s a confession,” Brosnan explained.
It’s a tool investigators would love to keep secret from criminals.
“There’s a range of cases that the information obtained from the phone, established innocence or guilt,“ Brosnan warned.
Apple pledged it won’t share this information without your consent. The company said it’s “used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.”
“You have the option to turn off your location. As long as people know they can opt out…you’re saying ‘I consent to this’,” Cira Affacato said, who has her frequent location settings turned off.
It’s also a great glimpse into someone’s love life for divorce lawyers.
Robert Wallack is a New York City divorce attorney, who has successfully used this information for judgement on custody and alimony cases.
“If someone claims they’re at work or away, we’re able to find out they’re not; and doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” Wallack said.
Unlike ten years ago, every criminal and civil case involves digital evidence, warned Wallack.
“It has become easier for people to cheat. It’s easier to find out if people are cheating,” he said.
HERE’S HOW TO TURN ‘FREQUENT LOCATIONS’ OFF:
1. Click "Settings"
2. Go to "Privacy"
3. Select "Location Services"
4. Scroll down to "System Services"
5. Choose "Frequent Locations" to see the logged record of where you've been -- de-select this to turn the feature off
Open the App Drawer and go to Settings.
Scroll down and tap Location.
Scroll down and tap Google Location Settings.
Tap Location Reporting and Location History, and switch the slider to off for each one.
To delete your phone's location cache, tap "Delete Location History" at the bottom of the screen under Location History.
Repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android device.