What's the Deal: Protecting your privacy on your smart devices

Whether we are holding them or wearing them, the devices in your life offer convenience. But can they be compromising your security or privacy?

A local expert says when it comes to protecting ourselves, the power is in our hands.

"For the first time that I can remember people are waking up and seeing Facebook and Google and LinkedIn in the news and realizing, 'Hey, that's my data! What do I need to do to protect it?'" said Mark McCreary, the Chief Privacy Officer for Fox Rothschild LLP.

He says security is all about the settings and the best place to start is with your cell phone.

"We always have it with us," said McCreary. "It knows where we are. It knows what we say, and there are simple things you can do to make sure it's not more collection than you want."

You can find out by checking out your device's privacy settings.

"Look and see where you are sharing your geo-location data," McCreary says. "I think you would be shocked at the number of applications where you have said, 'you can track me.'"
He says the location settings should always be set to "off" or "only while using." McCreary also says it's wise to check all of the settings for each app you use.

"You share your contacts with some apps, like your calendar, your microphone, your photos," he said. "Go back and see what you actually agreed to."

Wearables like Apple Watch and FitBit gather your personal data, everything from heart rate to physical activity. But who else has access to that information?

"When you go into your privacy settings on your phone, see with whom you are sharing all of that health data because that is very personal information to you," said McCreary.
That information is also very valuable to third parties.

Finally, if you're a frequent Venmo user, McCreary highly suggests hiding your activity by making it "private."

"So that you are not actually sharing with the world who you are paying , what you are paying, your little memos of what you are paying for," he explains. "Change that privacy setting making sure it's only with the people with whom you are exchanging money."

He also says people tend to get lazy about passwords. The rule? Use a different one for each and every site and app.
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