Fatal shooting highlights potential dangers of location settings in apps

Fatal shooting highlights potential dangers of location settings in apps
David Riggins SOURCE: KPLC

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - News of one of the latest deadly shootings in the Capital City has some area leaders warning of the potential dangers of some smartphone apps.

David Riggins SOURCE: KPLC
David Riggins SOURCE: KPLC

Tragedy struck a Baton Rouge neighborhood in the early hours of Saturday, Mar. 16 and police say an app may have played a role in the deadly encounter.

David Riggins ,64, was found dead on the floor of his home after police say he was shot in the neck during a struggle with an intruder who the police report reveals tracked a guest in Riggins’ home using a dating app.

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The homicide underscores the hidden dangers some digital devices and dating apps could pose to users.

"The day that we live in, with particularly technology and cell phones that we use and we take for granted as good devices. They could also be used against you," said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Vernon Mosby, 32, is now charged with killing Riggins.

The police report reveals Riggins answered his own door on Knights Bridge Court early Saturday morning with a gun.

The report later reveals that he and Mosby got into a struggle before that gun went off.

Police say Mosby claims he was there to see another man inside the home.

“They have no idea what capabilities that phone has to others that may not want to use it for good intent,” said Moore. “It’s troubling how others can use phones to cause harm.”

What is not clear at this time is why Mosby came to the home or what the relationship may have been between him, the victim and the other man.

While there are still a lot of unanswered questions in the case, Moore is encouraging people to be mindful of what their smartphone may be sharing with the world.

“It may not be the smart thing for you to do to have certain apps on your phone that are running and you really don’t know what’s going on with those apps,” he added.

Several apps can share a user’s location with others, and some even include a map feature inside the app that can pinpoint the user’s location almost exactly.

In many cases, users can change the setting to limit who can find them. Moore says it might be something everyone should consider.

"If you don't want people to have access to what you're doing and where you are then surely you'll want to consider looking at your phone or asking someone that knows better than you, what devices are running in my phone. That would be a really good questions to ask," said Moore.

In September of 2018, a California man was able to break into a 13-year-old girl’s room while nude using social media. In March, police sounded the alarm about an extensive list of apps targeted toward children that allows users to share their location.

The most common advice: turn off your location sharing on apps.

It may not be enough to close out of apps, which can track your location even when they’re not in use.

Here’s how to turn off your location on an iPhone:

· Go to Settings, Privacy, and then Location Services

· Then, find your social media apps

· Open each one and make sure Never is selected

WAFB reached out to several popular dating apps to learn more about their location sharing and safety features. Two popular apps, Grindr and Jack’d, did not return our request by the time this story was published.

Techniques used to track location on two other apps can be read below.

BUMBLE

Bumble users can control who sees them by choosing a radius between 1 and 100 miles within app settings. Users will only see potential matches who are within the distance they choose.

Bumble’s location sharing services only display the users’ approximate location so each user can only match with those who are within their preferred distance. This can be updated in the app’s settings. The location is displayed on a city level.

Bumble has a block and report feature within the app. At the bottom of a person’s profile, users can locate a button to block and report someone who has made them feel uncomfortable, has inappropriate content, or if they just don’t want their profile to appear in the other person’s feed.

TINDER

Tinder does not provide an exact location to your potential or existing matches. The app does not share a location more specific than 1 mile away, 5 miles away, 15 miles away, etc. The lowest figure shared by the app is “1 mile.”

Tinder maintains a list of safety tips which can be read here.

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