I was on a walk a few days ago with a close friend, when my phone rang. I laughed when I saw my walking buddy’s phone was pocket dialing me and we were already in the midst of a very juicy conversation. On the other hand, I didn’t find it so funny when her phone pocket dialed me at 4:45am and again at 5:15am when she had an early morning flight and my rare chance to sleep in came to an early end. Nor would either of us have found it funny if she pocket dialed someone else in the midst of our conversation that was not meant for anyone else’s ears. Now that would have been a huge privacy invasion that would have been extremely embarrassing for both of us!
Last week, I was also pocket dialed by another close friend and by my husband. Nothing interesting to report on those phone calls as I hung up the calls when they didn’t respond to me yelling their names. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything juicy! And lucky for me and my callers, no harm, no foul!
But two other people were not so lucky. One of them was driving in her car with a friend when she got a call she thought she had rejected but she hit the answer key instead. Her lovely caller silently eavesdropped on the entire conversation which happened to include conversation about this caller and why her call wasn’t welcomed at that moment. The drama that followed the next day was embarrassing and unpleasant and I’m not sure if the two friends are talking to each other yet. And then there’s the 20 minute heated conversation recorded on a friend’s home machine that was not intended for her ears. Her caller had left a message for her via Bluetooth in his car and didn’t realize he hadn’t hung up afterwards. A juicy argument between him and his girlfriend was recorded loud and clear and he definitely would have preferred that conversation remained private. Perhaps the message could have been deleted as soon as the listener realized it wasn’t meant for her ears? After all, it does take a few moments to realize what’s going on. But human nature is human nature and who can resist such temptation when the information is handed out on a silver platter?
So what can we do to avoid potential embarrassment and accidental invasion of privacy when it comes to cell phones?
1. Turn on the auto-lock keyboard feature.
- This will not prevent you from answering incoming calls immediately.
- This feature does not prevent others from using your phone. (On my Samsung screen, a message states the phone is locked and also informs any user which 2 keys to press to unlock the phone.)
- If you don’t know how to lock your keyboard, the easiest solution is to dial 611 from your phone and your service provider can give you directions. Or check your phone manual or Google for instructions.
2. Pay attention to your own actions when your cell phone is nearby or in use.
- Remember to actively hang up your phone each time you use it.
- Be especially careful about hanging up your phone right after you leave a message.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Someone may be eavesdropping.
3. Let callers know immediately that they are on speaker and there are others in the car when you are not alone and you receive or make calls in your car.
4. Be aware that GPS in cell phones (and cameras) can pinpoint the exact location that photos are taken.
- The Channel 7 news report below shows how GPS can be dangerous when it is used for such things as pinpointing the exact location where photos of children are taken or the location of jewelry in photos on Craig’s list. The report also refers to Facebook Places. Please refer to prior blog article How to Edit and Verify Facebook Settings if you don’t want other people to be able to check you in to Places and to understand your own Places settings. (Go to Section 5 of the article which is How to Control What Happens When Friends Tag Your Photos or Your Content.)
If you have a funny story or video relating to cell phone privacy and pocket dialing, please share it in a comment right after this article or contact us and with your permission, it may be featured as its own article on this blog.
Until next time,… Stay Cyber Safe!