Surfshark’s latest Android update adds GPS spoofing feature

Julie Cole
Julie Cole | Tech writer and privacy advocate
Last updated: August 21, 2023
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Privacy protection company Surfshark VPN introduced the first-ever GPS spoofing feature for Android devices. This allows users to protect their online presence with an extra layer of protection – not only by changing their IP address, but also the device’s physical GPS location. This is the first time a VPN provider includes a location spoofing feature without the use of additional third-party apps.

In the official press release, Surfshark’s representative Naomi Hodges explains:

Most mobile apps fetch location data from a device’s GPS to track their users for various purposes. Sometimes providing access to the device’s GPS is a condition of using 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 spoofing is an optional feature that is not on by default and can be enabled from the app settings.

Why GPS spoofing is an important part of the puzzle

Access to a user’s IP address is mandatory if you want to connect to the Internet. Thing is, you don’t have to provide your real IP – VPN services see to that. However, on mobile, many apps use the GPS location for user tracking instead of the IP address. With the new version of Surfshark, you can cover your tracks with a disguised personal IP as well as a fake GPS location.

This works by virtually changing users’ actual GPS location by connecting to one of the VPN servers. When GPS spoofing is activated, any app that will request the user’s physical coordinates will be overridden by the coordinates of the selected VPN server. This means that a web service that wants to access a user’s GPS data will think that the user is, for example, in the US instead of its real location, the UK.

“The main purpose of this new feature is to provide its users with an ability to control its digital presence in the areas that were left to unsolicited exploitation of their location data for marketing and other purposes,” says Naomi Hodges.

GPS spoofing feature is the latest addition to Surfshark’s range of privacy toolkit, which includes malware, ad and tracker blocker CleanWeb, free DNS resolver TrustDNS and others.

Recommended reads:

Surfshark VPN Review
Incogni review

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