Did you know that, right now, someone is tracking you? They are following you the way that the CIA follows Russian spies in movies from the Cold War. You have a tracking device with you at all times. Maybe it is in your pocket. Maybe it is in your purse. Maybe you just have it sitting beside you on the desk. You probably did not even know that it was being used to track your movements; you just thought it was a convenient piece of technology that made life easier. The truth is that this device is also being documented by the company that sold it to you. It is your cell phone.

As terrifying as it sounds to think that phone companies are keeping track of where you are based on your cell phone coverage, you do need to realize that a lot of your fear probably comes from those same movies that were referenced above. You are not comfortable with the idea because you know that it could be used badly if the information fell into the wrong hands. In practicality, though, it does not matter if the cell phone company knows that you are at work, at home, or eating at your favorite restaurant. There are some very good reasons why they insist on checking up on their customers so often.

First and foremost, they need to know where you are so that they can find the best towers for you to use when you make a call or go online. When they see your location, they can find the closest tower and route your call through it. They can make sure that you have a strong signal the whole time. This is especially needed since people are often moving – in cars, buses, or trains – while they are on their cell phones. The calls may need to be switched seamlessly from one tower to the next so that they will not be dropped as the phones goes out of the previous tower’s range.

The next reason is just for billing purposes. Calls that you make from one part of the country to the next cost more. They are based on where you are, not where you bought the phone. Calls that leave the country also cost more. If you have driven across a border and then made a call back into the country, you will have to pay more than you would if you drove back in and made the same call. They need to know where you are so that they can know how far the call travels, how long it lasts, and how much they need to charge you for it.

So, as much as it might sound intimidating to know that cell phone companies are tracking all of your moves, you can see that they are not doing it to be malicious. It is just part of the technology. They are doing it so that your phone works as well as possible.

This is a Guest Post from Bill Richardson who is an insurance adjucter and a freelance writer.  

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