NBC NEWS: A Viral Social Media Post Raises Concerns for Data Security (feat. Jen Golbeck)

Emily Davidson - September 22, 2022

Dr. Golbeck advises people to be skeptical of the data their devices request.

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Rumors circulating on Instagram have users concerned for their privacy. The claim suggests that cybercriminals can swipe someone’s precise location from social media companies collecting that data, and then use it against them. However, Dr. Jen Golbeck, an expert in data privacy at the UMD College of Information Studies, reassures that taking certain precautions can help keep your information safe.

Dr. Golbeck explains that this information is not easily accessed by others, but data leaks are known to happen from time to time. If a social media company is tracking and storing your data, the best practice is to limit what they can collect in the first place. She recommends disabling location services on all apps and devices except for navigational or location-based tools. Beyond this, users should be aware of the many ways their data can be found.  

“Even if you turn off location services, apps like Instagram are able to use like your Wi-Fi signal to find your location anyway, not as precisely, but there’s all sorts of ways that even if we say, ‘Don’t collect this,’ they find ways to do it,” she says.

Read the full article here, published August 25, 2022 by NBC News.