FORT MYERS, Fla. - You carry it with you everywhere you go, but did you know your cell phone could be tracking your every move? Corporations are cashing in by knowing your whereabouts.
More than 140 million people are being tracked by their phones. HTC and Samsung phones come pre-loaded with software from the company carrier IQ.
More than 100 lawsuits in federal court claim the phones track the key strokes of text messages and internet searches. The lawsuits claim the software is the equivalent of a wiretap. The company says various types of data are collected for customer support reasons and to help troubleshoot problems with the network or the phone.
Other software, like Turnstyle Solutions, literally tracks every store you're walking into. That company says it allows businesses to build profiles of their customers.
"They can tailor everything around what you want, what you've purchased in the past, what you do, what your favorite color is, whatever," explained computer expert and owner of CPR Tools, John Benkert. "It's a very big industry."
Even the apps on your phones could be spying on you.
"They make money off of you and me and they make money off of the information," said Benkert.
Consumers are finding there's no protection from the federal government. In a December report, the Government Accountability Office found that no overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information. The GAO suggested that congress strengthen laws to protect consumers' data.
"It's a multi-billion dollar industry to sell people's data. Some of it's legit, some of it's not legit," said Benkert.
And you thought you had to worry about the NSA.
"The corporations are collecting much more information on us than NSA ever could," Benkert told us.
So how do you stop this from happening? First of all, carefully read the prompts when you download an app and if you're concerned, decline when they ask you if they can share your information.
Secondly, you can turn off the tracking feature on your phone, which is usually in the settings section. It's not going to stop the tracking completely, but it will help.