Once upon a time, Rockwell sang: “I always feel like somebody’s watching me, and I have no privacy” … if that sounds a little familiar to you, we believe your smartphone Apps could be to blame.
Privacy permissions have always been a topic for debate. From collecting an entire contact list and storing it into a database, to reading personal information and checking SMS from your phone, the list of outrageous requirements for an App to be fully installed and operating keeps growing (-and therefore getting even creepier-) by the minute.
Two of the biggest titans of the industry have expressed an apparent “concern” about the issue. Apple pre-approves all apps that go into App Store, and reserves the right to reject any app that collects or transmits users’ personal data without their permission. Google has tools built into the Android platform that forces developers to notify people of data they plan to access. (Source: The New York Times)
But to be perfectly clear, none of these tactics have been fully successful. Even well known companies fail when trying to explain the reason why they need this information. Renowned Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and plenty of others have permission to even download files without notification, directly into phones. Even WhatsApp, a company that was recently acquired by Facebook, presumably requests to the user the permission to activate the microphone and camera of the cellphone without the user necessarily knowing it to be installed.
Using Facebook as an example, we went straight to their help center and found out that the weirdest things are indeed taken from an Android phone. However, they also explained how all of the information collected was being utilized, but for some reason we are still not swayed that having this information is beneficial or even safe.
On another note, it might not be as bad as it sounds. The above descriptions seem reasonable, don’t they? We’ll leave that for you to decide. Anyway, we recommend that you read the Terms and Conditions of an App (or any program in general) before installing it to your personal devices, otherwise you could be sharing information – maybe private information – that you never intended on sharing!
How safe do you feel with these apps on your devices? Share your thoughts!