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What's happening to the personal data on your phone?

Do you know how your data is being stored and used?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Our smartphones are just that...smart! And they pick up on every move that we make in order to better predict our next one. Sometimes this means that our devices know more about us than we would like to think.

But what are some of the ways your data can be misused? 

Cybersecurity expert Jay Town says, "That information not only traverses between vendors, but can find its way onto the dark web, and that information can be used for nefarious purposes, like opening up a credit card or trying to secure a mortgage under your name, you know, some sort of identity theft." 

On the flip side,  data storing can also be very useful and help you navigate through the real world and internet more easily

Town explains, "Now, it's great when you're walking down New York City, and they know that you eat pizza because of your purchase history or your browser history, and you get a notification on Google that you're two blocks away from Famous Ray's pizza...fantastic. Or you want to know the weather, and it automatically knows your geolocation, that you're in Washington and not in Huntsville, and it can tell you that it's going to rain in Washington DC and not in a place that you're not. That's great. That's why we have location services on our phone."

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Those services are helpful, but if you're losing sleep feeling that your devices are monitoring too closely, Town says, "If you don't want your applications to constantly be brewing your data, your personal identifiable information, then you can do one or two things, you can turn off your location services, or you can delete that application altogether."

And in order to get ahead, here are some things you should think about before turning off location services or deleting apps. Town says, "You don't need to just download every single app that you possibly can out of your app store, your Google store. You know, use the ones that you need and read the terms and conditions of those apps that you use."

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