Let's face it - as a general rule, smartphones aren't great for user privacy. There are tons of unruly apps out there that track everything from location data to personal conversations to financial details. One estimate places the volume of smartphone apps that report personal data to third parties at somewhere around 70%.

Even if you're the kind of person who purportedly doesn't care about data privacy, that number should probably give you pause. But what exactly can you do about it? Being aware there's a problem and taking action to solve it are two very different things, after all.

Here's where the DTEK app comes in. Preloaded onto every BlackBerry Android smartphone, DTEK provides constant security monitoring and protection of your entire operating system. It helps you keep track of what apps can access which features and data, while also monitoring stuff like data encryption and password protection. Basically, it's the key to taking greater control over your mobile privacy than ever - here's how to use it.

The Home Screen

The main screen of the DTEK is a visual interface that gives you an overview of your BlackBerry smartphones security status. The first thing you'll probably notice is the gauge positioned towards the top half of the screen - your device's security status. Depending on what steps you've taken to protect your device, it will be a rating of either excellent, fair, or poor.

This rating can be improved by:

  • Setting a screen lock
  • Turning off developer options
  • Enabling data encryption (Enabled by default)
  • Turning on factory reset protection
  • Keeping your operating system up to date
  • Enabling remote management to protect your device if it is lost or stolen
  • Downloading apps exclusively from the Google Play Store
  • Keeping track of your app permissions/data access (more on that below).
  • Customizing your settings

You can open the DTEK app's Settings menu by tapping the gear in the top right-hand corner of your screen. It's pretty straightforward from here. You can configure when and how DTEK sends you notifications, turn off event logging, or clear event history.

Those last two could also use a bit more explanation. Whenever an app accesses your data or a feature on your BlackBerry, DTEK logs the activity, keeping track of both access time and duration. It logs a history of that activity to help paint a picture of how each app uses your device and data - and to help you recognize any red flags that an app's doing something it shouldn't. Suffice it to say, turning off event logging effectively removes this protection from your BlackBerry - do so with caution.

Reining In Your Apps

One of the major features of DTEK is the "Applications" option. Tapping on this will provide you with a list of every app installed on your device. From here, you'll be able to see what permissions you've given to each app, as well as what features an app has recently accessed and how often it has accessed it.

Tapping on an individual app will take you to a page that shows you a comprehensive overview of the app's permissions and activity. You can tap on any of the items listed to see more details on when, where how, and for how long it accessed a particular feature, function, or data-set. This will also display a visual timeline of the app's access requests.

On this screen, you can also tweak your notification preferences. Let's say, for example, you don't want to be notified every time Google Maps accesses your location, but you do want to know if it accesses your contacts or microphone. You can also quickly tell what permissions an app has by looking at the icons that appear under it.

Make Your Privacy YOURS Again

DTEK is a simple, powerful, and intuitive way to control your personal data. It's an easy-to-use tool that lets you take charge of your security. By using it, you'll gain complete visibility into how your apps are using your data and device, allowing you to make more informed decisions when it comes to keeping yourself safe.