One of the scariest aspects of today’s growing digital world is the reduction in privacy people feel while using these services. Social media applications like Instagram track a scary amount of information on each of their users in order to provide the most tailored content and to push products they think their users will like. From the amount of time you spend looking at a pic, your likes to your location, the breach of privacy is somewhat alarming. Facebook is another huge culprit, as they gather users’ interests and sell them to advertisers in order to promote their product to the most effective audience willing to buy. Your phone is essentially a portable spy that lives in everyone’s pockets, with little government regulation holding them back. Now, banks and certain fintechs seem to be entering this same domain of reduced user privacy and the US government is allowing it to happen. If it keeps going and gets out of hand in the US, then who’s to say that it won’t expand to other countries and eventually globally.
On March 23, a new law was passed that allows banks to know the location of their users while using their digital applications in order to provide them their service. Countless tech companies ask users if it’s ok for them to access location settings, but often this is unlocked optional features that the user can opt out of. However, under this new legislation, banking apps can require that users allow them access to their location or refuse access to use of their application. The only alternative users would have to this would be if they would like to go to the physical branch to conduct all banking activities, which is an option but arguably in today’s age a wildly inconvenient one. But, this comes with the caveat that the branch will then know your general location from whatever branch you chose to you. So in short, your bank knowing your location is something that we all are going to have to come to terms with whether we agree with it or not. It’s most likely true that these companies already knew your estimated location before this law went into effect, but this will only make it that much more accurate. Some users may opt into using a VPN in order to protect themselves from the banks knowing their exact location, but if this is an option you’re considering it’s recommended you avoid highly risky countries such as North Korea or Iran, according to an Entrepreneur article.