By Ethan Nahté
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer released a statement the morning of Nov. 28 regarding iPhone’s IOS 17 update and the NameDrop app.
Law enforcement agencies across the US, including the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, are giving a heads-up to iPhone users about the new iOS 17 update. There’s this new feature called NameDrop that comes automatically switched on after the update. It lets you share contact info with another iPhone or Apple Watch by bringing the devices close together.
“Authorities expressed concerns about potential privacy risks associated with NameDrop, emphasizing the possibility of inadvertent sharing of personal information. This can lead to unauthorized access or data exposure. They highlighted the default activation of NameDrop after the iOS 17 update, which could potentially enable scammers to obtain individuals’ information without their knowledge or consent.
“To disable the NameDrop app on your IPhone go to ‘Settings,’ tap ‘General,’ click on ‘AirDrop,’ and toggle the ‘Bringing Devices Together’ option to off. Additionally, parents were reminded to adjust these settings on their children’s phones to help ensure their safety.”
The police warnings are making news and going viral, but some believe that law enforcement around the country is making a mountain out of a molehill.
WIRED magazine, which has been around 30 years and has a reported circulation in excess of 870,000, focuses on emerging technologies and how it affects culture, the economy and politics. They stated on their site the previous day that it was not necessary to turn off Apple’s NameDrop feature, claiming that despite the fact NameDrop automatically turns on with the latest software update, consumers shouldn’t be worried.
NameDrop would appear to be very much like AirDrop, which means the iPhone or Apple Watch has to be in close proximity to another device that accepts a request to allow the second party to “Share” or “Receive Only.” Otherwise, a person would have to purposely choose to share any images or information from their device with another.
But not computer-like device is hack proof, so it is up to you whether you want to keep NameDrop activated or not. WIRED provides similar directions shared by Sawyer on how to deactivate NameDrop.
WIRED also has an article on how to make sure you’re not accidentally sharing your location, but it is behind a paywall and to read more than a single article on their site requires a subscription.
There is also the option to have NameDrop turned off and only turn it on when you need it. That way, if someone borrows your phone, or it is lost or stolen, the app is not open for them to transfer information, assuming you have your phone protected with a password of facial recognition to prevent 100% access to your phone.
The advice law enforcement should be a consideration, but possibly not a necessity. When it comes right down to it, be aware and take precautions to prevent being victimized, whether that means following the advice for full time activation, activation as necessary, or deactivation.