Tradesoffs between Privacy and Security with Location Sharing Applications

What do you want advice about?
Location Sharing Apps (e.g. Find my friends, life360). Are there any one’s that respect privacy?
What have you considered or looked at already?
I’ve looked at Signal and Find My Friends(IOS only), not so fine with using Life360 due to their collection of users location data.

1 Like

I can only think of one option thats privacy respecting… but still kinda lacking. It also requires a self-hosted NextCloud instance. If that doesn’t bother you, take a look at PhoneTrack.

If this is not an option, then imo, you need to evaluate your threat model. Someone is going to need to collect, and host that data. So who do you trust? Now, personally I’d go with a 1st party option. Why? Your location is being broadcast anyway, so why trust multiple parties with that data, instead of just one. So that brings us to Googles Find My Device, and Apples Find My network. As far as I’m aware Google does not allow you to track other peoples devices, just your own. Imo, that kinda sucks, and that fails your use-case. So that beings us to Apple’s option… which seems to be the best of a bad bunch. They will allow what you’re asking, and you’re not sharing that data with another person/company.

If you want to go 3rd party… that area seems kinda sketchy. I was looking into this awhile back, and didn’t find any appealing options. None that I’d feel comfortable recommending, anyway.

Edit: If you want something open source, but not self hosted. I did come across TICE, awhile back (didnt kmow if I could remember what it was called, or find it, hence the edit). Now free and open source, does not mean that it’s privacy respecting. You’re still trusting someone, to not just keep your data private, but also secure.

1 Like

First, welcome @anonymouspenguin to the community!

Second, I would like to also ask for help with this. Unfortunately, there is a member of my family who insists on having me use Life360… I don’t like it, but I hope one day I can convince this person of why this is cringe. Life360 is the only app that I use that has location services on all the time.

What I’ve done to try to mitigate this is to turn off some of the settings that I could get away with within Life360. I also leave the app using battery optimization, even thought Life360 tells me every time to make an exception for it. Location is still on, but I do notice that there is a lag in went updates get sent out.

Take a look at different companies histories. I believe Life360 has leaked people’s location multiple times before (might be wrong though).

See if you can find any evidence of that happening with different companies. Most companies will have some evidence of this, but if you can find one with less, it might be better. Definitely not good, but with these sorts of products, that is all you can really do.

On iOS, I believe you can share your location with contacts in Apple Maps or Find My (not sure how, but I know it’s possible). Take a look at that if you and your contacts use iOS as Apple often has slightly better practises (I think they encrypt your location) and they are a 1st-party so you don’t need to trust a 3rd-party

1 Like