Is Your Partner Using Google Maps To Track Your Location and What You Can Do To Stop It!

CAVEAT:  This article was spawned given that we have now assisted several teens who found themselves in abusive relationships where Snapchat was wielded as a weaponized tool by their partner to monitor their movements, a specific example – the “SnapMaps” feature in Snapchat. Activating the “only these friends” setting in SnapMaps, with the abuser’s name exclusively associated, grants them the ability to monitor their partner’s location and movements 24/7 using the GPS functionality of the phone. However, teens and even adult may not know that this type of covert tracking can also take place through the use of Google Maps thus the reason for this article.

In today’s onlife world, where technology significantly shapes the lives of teenagers, it brings both opportunities for enhanced connectivity and potential risks, particularly in the area of teen digital relationship abuse. This concerning issue involves a controlling teen partner who utilizes technology to exert emotional, psychological, physical, and social control over their partner.

In Canada, teen digital relationship abuse is a pressing and emerging concern. Research from the University of Ottawa, via Prevnet, reveals that 17.5% of grade 9-10 students have experienced digital relationship abusive. Recently, StatsCan reported that 1 in 4 teens aged 12-17 has encountered at least one incident of tech-facilitated violence in the past 12 months. Shockingly, 2 in 4 transgender and non-binary teens within the same age group have experienced at least one incident of tech-facilitated violence in the last year. This underscores the urgency of addressing and preventing teen digital relationship abuse within our communities, thus one of the reasons for this posting.

The convenience of navigation and location-sharing apps like Google Maps has become an integral part of our daily lives. While these applications offer valuable assistance in finding our way around, they also come with privacy concerns, especially when it comes to sharing our real-time location with others. This article aims to shed light on how an abusive or controlling partner might covertly use Google Maps to track your location and, more importantly, how you can safeguard your privacy by disabling this feature.

Google Maps has a feature called “Location Sharing” that allows users to share their real-time location with friends, family, or anyone they choose. While this can be useful for coordinating meetups or keeping loved ones informed about your whereabouts, it also raises concerns about unwanted tracking.

If partners have access to your device or your Google account, they can enable location sharing without your knowledge. This is particularly concerning if you share devices or if your partner has access to your phone. Partners with access to your Google account or your phone can covertly set up and view your location history and real-time location on their device through the Google Maps app or website.

So, how can you see if someone is using your Google Maps to track you, and how to disable this function if they have set it up on your phone without your knowledge:

Step #1: Go to your account and click on your icon in the upper right corner

Step #2: Click on “Location Sharing”

Step #3: Look for a card that pops up at the bottom of your screen with the icon of the name of a person who is following you

Step #4: click on the person’s icon and then click “stop”

Step #5: Click on the three horizontal dots on the upper right side of the bottom card

Step #6: Click “Remove from list”

Other Things You Can Do:

  • Review the devices that have access to your Google account. Go to your Google Account settings, navigate to “Security,” and check the list of devices with access to your account. Remove any unfamiliar or unwanted devices.

  • If you suspect unauthorized access, change your Google account password immediately. This will prevent anyone with the old password from accessing your location or other personal information.

  • Regularly review and manage the permissions granted to the Google Maps app on your device. Disable any unnecessary permissions that could compromise your privacy.

While the convenience of navigation and location-sharing apps enhances our daily lives, it is crucial to recognize and address the potential privacy concerns associated with sharing our real-time location. This article has highlighted how an abusive or controlling partner might exploit Google Maps to track your whereabouts and, more importantly, has provided practical steps to safeguard your privacy. By following the outlined procedures to check and disable location sharing, as well as actively managing your Google account settings and app permissions, you can take control of your personal space in today’s onlife world. 

Regular vigilance and proactive measures ensure that you can continue to enjoy the benefits of navigation apps like Google Maps without compromising your privacy and security. Remember, being informed and taking action empowers you to navigate both the physical and digital aspects of your life with confidence and control in a safer and more secure way.

Digital Food For Thought

The White Hatter

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