Location sharing is the ability to share your location with other people and entities either via GPS, self-reporting or other methods. Many apps, devices and online services allow you to share your location at a moment in time, for example if you ‘check-in’ somewhere or as an automatic function. Others track your location in real time, meaning that your movements are tracked continually while you are using the app or service, or your device is online. Depending on the settings available, you may be able to select not to share your location, who you share your location with or when it is shared.
What are the benefits?
- Get directions or find out where something is
Online maps allow you to easily find an address or business and can help you to navigate there in real time.
- Connect with friends and loved ones
You can see where your friends and loved ones are and check they are OK.
- Your whereabouts are traceable
If something were to happen, your movements could be traced. This traceability can act as a deterrent.
What are the risks?
- Inadvertent disclosure
You may not realise your location is being shared with other people and entities, or that data stored in an app or online account could reveal your location.
- The normalisation of surveillance and the loss of privacy
Social media and apps have made tracking someone’s location an easy and accepted practice. This erodes privacy and risks normalising controlling behaviours.
- Threats to personal safety
If you are at risk of or experiencing domestic and family violence or stalking, knowledge of your whereabouts may put you at risk of harm.
The services listed as including location sharing in the eSafety Guide incorporate specific features that allow you to share your location. However, you could disclose your location, whether intentionally or inadvertently, on any service that allows you to share content or communicate with other people.
You can view location sharing services in the eSafety guide.