What you should know about smartphone privacy

With every search, click and download, your mobile behaviours are being monitored.

Teenage girls using cellphones

Photo, Getty Images.

We love our sleekly designed smartphones and we’re entirely besotted with the opportunities these devices provide us for sharing our lives with friends, family and strangers both through email, text and on social media.

But as with any one-sided romance, there’s a price to be paid. And for the luvved-up consumer that price is most often a lack of privacy. With every search and click, our shopping, browsing, personal and consumer behaviours are observed, and in some cases, sold off by internet giants.

Prompted by increasing concerns about privacy some tech start-ups are attempting to create smartphones that offer greater protections to the consumer. An article in Fast Company by writer Sydney Brownstone discusses one such project called The Indie Phone.

With user privacy in mind, Indie Phone offers an individual server for each user as well apps for email. By contrast, other smartphones collect user data, including email, on one general server.

As the article makes clear, this state of affairs isn’t only cheaper for large corporations, but it also makes collection and selling of user data simpler and easier.

Indie Phone is the brainchild of Aral Balkan a former app creator. He created the Indie Phone because he was concerned about how user’s personal privacy was being impinged upon by tech companies.

“They make money from data,” Balkan told Fast Company. “They need as much data as possible about as many things and as many people as possible. It is a simple business model, but it has quite dangerous ramifications.”

Those ramifications include “jeopardizing your privacy, and arising out of that, your civil liberties,” says Balkan.

Though the phone is still in production, Balkan, who is based in the U.K., is hoping to put Indie Phone into consumers’ hands soon through a crowdfunding finance model.

Until then, follow these tips to guard yourself against privacy breaches.