As a single, millennial woman who writes a sex and relationships column, I was incredibly apprehensive about handing my phone over in the name of journalism.

Thanks to our company IT policy, my work laptop searches are restricted to PG13 at the most - but I do have a personal cellphone where my after-hours Googling is obviously not as restrained.

Truth be told, by the time the guys from Norton LifeLock turned up to the office I had broken out in cold sweats and was hyperventilating at all the possible things they'd find in my browser history and camera roll.

Thankfully they assured me they wouldn't be pilfering through my questionable Google searches and even more questionable photo albums – but they would delve deep into what personal information I was unknowingly sharing to third-party apps.


Ministry for Culture and Heritage reports serious digital privacy security breach
Privacy in digital age explored
Google vows greater user privacy, after decades of data collection
The Conversation: Oz plan to rein in digital giants

After looking through the privacy settings on my phone, digital security expert Dean Williams found I was sharing my location with at least 20 apps without my knowledge (in that I suppose I must have given the apps permission to when I first downloaded them, but as everyone does, I had probably forgotten.)

This might alarm you, but despite the fact I've been broadcasting my location to God knows who - I genuinely didn't really care.

I'm not fazed if my apps can tell where I am at any given time, because I've (touch wood) never experienced any negative repercussions from it – it's just handy for getting Ubers or knowing where my closest Hell Pizza is.

And if you thought that was bad – I'd also given tonnes of apps access to my camera roll, and I didn't really care about that either

What's funny about this is that while I almost had a panic attack at the thought of Dean seeing my personal photos, I truly couldn't care less if the people on the other side of the world behind my apps were rummaging through my personal photo album. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

But what you also have to remember is I'm a millennial who shares nearly every aspect of my personal life online – whether that's on social media or on the Herald. Plus, as I'm currently single and childless, I don't have anyone else to worry about or protect.

If and when I do have children, however, I definitely won't be so cavalier about what I share, and I'll absolutely be tightening my online security and privacy.


Thankfully, there are easy ways you can do this. Make sure you properly read the terms and conditions of each app (don't just pretend you did ) so you know exactly what you're sharing and with whom - and be sure to set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.

Your Digital Life: A survivor's guide to social media

Part One: Big Brother is watching you
Part Two: Fake News - a threat to democracy?
Part Three: Kids and social media
Part Four: How to beat smartphone addiction