Mobile phones and in particular smartphones have been a revelation with regards to staying in touch when we are out and about. I was walking through Darling Harbour in Sydney last weekend with my family and we noticed something truly astonishing, of the 20 or so people sitting around us every single one of them was actively using their smartphone. We paused for a moment to think about how times have changed and how this really has evolved over the past few years. One thing that struck us was how using, and more importantly talking on smart phones has become an accepted practice in public places.
We joked about some of the funny and scary things we have heard people talking about while using their smartphones. And it’s not that we eavesdrop it’s that people seem to go into their own little world when using their phone, they forget that the 60 people in a packed train carriage or the coffee shop can hear every word they say.
Overly loud talking in public spaces can be an annoyance to everyone around you, but it can also be a privacy risk. Many people discuss very private matters while on the phone; finances, holiday plans, birthdays, home address etc are just some of the things that I have heard while on the train.
Unfortunately these items are also some of the common personally identifiable information pieces used to verify someone’s identity when they create a new account be it a bank account, a shopping account or any online account. Holiday plans can also obviously give thieves the perfect opportunity to physically steal from you.
We often give advice to people about not posting personal information or holiday/travel plans on social networks but the same goes for any public communication, including a conversation on a phone while in public. Common sense should prevail and people should be aware that their conversations may not be private and the information could be gathered and used to either steal their identity or steal their physical property.
So a word of advice when talking on your smartphone – try to keep your private conversation private.