Virtual Private Networks (VPN) have been with us for a while now. By rerouting your IP address through different locations around the globe, a VPN can mask your location, making your identity much more difficult to track. VPNs do a lot, and different ones come with different feature profiles. Some have more or fewer server locations. Some are more feature-filled and less user-friendly. Some are fast and light. You get the idea.
How Surfshark Became the First to Make GPS Location Masking Possible
Until now, there was one major use case that no VPN was able to fill: effectively disguising your GPS location while allowing you to still use apps that depend on GPS tracking- or insist on it. Until now, it could be quite aggravating if you wanted to use location tracking mobile apps without losing control of your location data. Some people simply do not like the idea of faceless corporations tracking their movements, logging location data and selling it to who knows what kinds of entities.
The feature is called GPS spoofing and it’s an ideal solution to a sticky problem- the fact that many mobile apps automatically switch location tracking on, even if you switch it off at the device settings level. Should you manage to switch it off in the app settings, a lot of apps will just quit working until you switch it back on. Other apps will stop working if you try to disable location tracking, and even more don’t even make it an option. Still, others pretend not to track you while they sneakily continue to do so in the background.
Surfshark gets around this with GPS spoofing, which lets you broadcast a false GPS location to the app source. It changes the physical location that your device broadcasts as your actual location. This makes it possible to continue using apps that try to strong arm you into giving up GPS data without actually giving up your real location. Pretty slick.
With the Surfshark VPN, you get this feature right in their Android VPN app. So there’s no additional third-party download. Just download the Surfshark VPN app, enable GPS spoofing, and your location data is protected.
Surfshark’s Cybersecurity Advisor, Naomi Hodges told Tech Radar why Surfshark decided to add this long-awaited feature when no one else would.
“Most mobile apps transmit location data from device’s GPS in order to track users for assorted purposes,” she said. “Sometimes providing access to a device’s GPS is a prerequisite for using the app. In the majority of cases, users don’t even know that a specific app is tracking them everywhere they go. Our location data can be exploited. So, for privacy-conscious people, we designed a GPS spoofing feature that enables them to regain control of their privacy. In this case, exercise they regain their ability to keep their physical location information private.”
How Surfshark Protects Your Location Data
Location tracking has been a contentious issue for as long as mobile phones, tablets, and other mobile devices have been around. But the topic hit the mainstream when Pokemon Go became popular. A lot of Pokemon players were at least moderately tech-savvy. They discovered that if they had root permissions on their devices, they could mislead the location tracker- allowing them to continue playing the game while retaining their privacy.
Because not all users know how to get root permissions, or don’t want to risk toying with their firmware settings, Surfshark takes a slightly different approach. What Surfshark’s VPN does is overwrite the GPS coordinates that the device transmits back to the app’s servers. This makes it possible for the GPS-powered features that you want to still do what you need while thwarting the app maker’s attempts to log your location.
Why is GPS spoofing better? A lot of the simpler DIY methods of denying GPS data to apps make the apps unusable. If you tell the device you are in a different location, your Mapquest app might show you strolling through Bosnia. That’s not very useful. Others just won’t work at all, while still more will continue actually tracking you in the background whilst holding their fingers crossed behind their backs.
Surfshark lets the app operate with the benefit of your real GPS location while refusing to transmit your actual coordinates.
Another useful application of this feature is the ability to get out of region-specific streaming service restrictions. Disney+, for example, doesn’t let people outside of the American continent use their service. But, if you’re in Europe, using Surfshark’s VPN, you can log into a Surfshark server located in the United States and enjoy The Mandolorian.
GPS spoofing is the latest addition to Surfshark’s already impressive array of VPN features, and it’s been a long time coming. This VPN remains one of the most feature-full, easy to use, and affordable on the market. To date, it comes with a potent malware blocker to keep those nasty invasive scripts off your devices. It features powerful and lite tracker blocking and ad-blocking software, called “CleanWeb.” It offers a very useful feature called HackLock- which gives you an alert any time a data breach is detected. You also get an ad-free search tool called BlindSearch. It also comes with the powerful DNS resolver, TrustDNS for free.
Other useful features include Whitelister, which allows trusted sites and apps designated by you to bypass your security settings for ease of use. You get the Kill Switch feature which can unplug you from potential threats in an emergency situation. Surfshark has a strict no-log policy. That means they do not save your information no matter where you use it or how.
In a world filled with threats to your personal information, passwords, your personal location, and even your deeply personal biometric data- all of which is scooped up and sold to advertisers, security agencies- and anyone at all with the money and the desire to electronically stalk you- few tech companies have done as much to protect your information as Surfshark.
If you value your personal information and take digital liberty seriously- it might be time to give Surfshark a try. The app is compatible with practically all operating systems. You get to use it on an unlimited number of devices, and it works on all of the major platforms.