Biggest privacy threat: Your smart phone

Biggest privacy threat: Your smart phone

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It wasn't long ago that cell phones were just, well, phones -- a way to carry on a conversation without being connected to a landline. Today, however, most new phones are more like a small computer and know everything about you.

"What part of my life is not tied to it?" offered Stephen Pearson with the High Tech Crime Institute in Largo. "The personalization of cell phones is the greatest security threat because I've taken this and now turned it in to something that can portal out to all of my devices."

You tell it where you go, what you like to do, who your friends are, and use it now for tasks like managing bank accounts and making airline reservations.

"This is more like a bulletin board and you're hanging everything out there.  And if somebody really wants to look at it, they can probably look at," warned Pearson.

Working with the National Forensic Science Technology Center, Pearson teaches law enforcement and military special ops how to extract digital data. 

Sometimes it's our own government is snooping around.  Cellphone towers supposedly became the source for the NSA to spy on the location of millions of Americans in 2010 and 2011, though the NSA denies using the Information. 

Advertisers and many others make no such denials and social media is easy picking, said Pearson.

"We're logging into all of our different accounts, saying this is where I'm at, this is where I eat, this is what I do, where I sleep, the hotel I use, and it's all tracked on this device that hangs on my hip."

There are no laws to stop the collection and sharing of data by third parties so you can be almost certain that every time you download an app, use a map, and search the web, you're being tracked. 

Pearson says when it comes to cell phones, less is more.

"The older the technology, the more secure you are."

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