The optional feature allows the company's users to shield their online presence from unsolicited tracking by giving them the ability to change their device's physical GPS location. Surfshark is also the first VPN provider to add a location spoofing feature to its app so that users no longer need to download additional third-party apps to prevent unwanted location tracking.
Cybersecurity adviser at Surfshark, Naomi Hodges explained why the company decided to add a GPS spoofing feature to its VPN app, saying:
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“Most mobile apps fetch location data from device’s GPS to track their users for various purposes. Sometimes providing access to device’s GPS is a condition to use the app. In many cases, users do not even know that some apps track them everywhere they go. Naturally, our location data can be exploited. For privacy conscious people we developed a GPS spoofing solution that can enable them to take back control of their privacy, and in this case, exercise their right to keep their physical location information only to themselves”
GPS location data
All web browsers have default access to a user's IP address but it can be masked by using a VPN service. However, most mobile apps use GPS location data to track users instead of their IP address which is why VPN services can't prevent users' locations from being tracked online.
Surfshark users will now have the option to virtually change their actual GPS location by connecting to one of the service's VPN server locations. With the GPS spoofing feature activated, any app that requests access to a user's physical coordinates will be overridden by the coordinates of the selected VPN server.
For instance, say a user in the UK is connected to one of Surfshark's VPN servers in the US. When an app on their smartphone asks for their location, it will now receive the location of the VPN server in the US as opposed to their actual GPS location in the UK.
GPS spoofing is the latest addition to Surfshark's privacy protection toolkit which also includes the malware, ad and tracker blocker CleanWeb, the data breach alert system HackLock, the private and ad-free search tool BlindSearch and the free DNS resolver TrustDNS.
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