Do you know the app privacy policy for each app you’ve downloaded?

I wrote the following blog about app privacy policy back in October of 2013. That’s right, almost five years ago! Given the fallout from the alleged Facebook privacy breach through both a third-party app as well as releasing Facebook user information to a separate company, I thought this was an appropriate time to re-run my post about apps and privacy policies:

“Most folks know that I’m all about saving time. After all, that’s what I do for a living – teach my clients how to increase productivity by determining customized ways to save time.

One way to increase productivity is through the use of technology. As society becomes more reliant on digital technology, more and more folks are turning to apps on their smart phones to allow them to stay connected to their co-workers, employees, clients and documents. How wonderful to be able to have everything you need for work at your fingertips – whether you’re at the top of the Eiffel Tower or in a port-a-potty at a construction site. That’s how to increase productivity! Or is it?

Here’s a scary question you need to ask yourself:

Do you know how secure and private your information is when communicating or sharing docs or information through apps?

I’m always on the hunt for a better way to do things. While researching how to increase productivity, I came across an article entitled Security Researchers Freak Out about New LinkedIn Mobile App. I think the title says it all, but please feel free to click through and read it.

While trying to load the Evernote app onto my new smartphone, I was surprised by the Terms & Conditions that needed to be agreed to before the download could proceed:

Evernote needs access to: 

Storage – Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage 

System tools – Prevent phone from sleeping, toggle sync on and off 

Your location – Approximate (network-based) location, precise (GPS) location 

Hardware controls – Record audio, take pictures and videos 

Your accounts – Add or remove accounts, create accounts and set passwords, use accounts on the device 

Your personal information – Read calendar events plus confidential information, read call log, read your contacts 

Phone calls – Read phone status and identity 

Network communication – Full network access 

System tools – Install shortcuts, read sync settings, read sync statistics, run at startup 

Development tools – Test access to protected storage 

Hardware controls – Control vibration 

Network communication – Google Play billing service, view Wi-Fi connections, view network connections 

Your accounts – Find accounts on the device

Excuse my language, but Holy Crap! That is a heck of a lot of access to private information. I did not feel comfortable at all in giving this much free reign to another entity, so Evernote did not get downloaded onto my new phone. Nor will I download LinkedIn’s new app.

When data gets hacked, there’s usually a massive amount of time lost while trying to correct the situation. In some cases, there are a lot of funds lost, too. Losing time and losing money equates to a loss of productivity.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather use “less connected” ways to increase productivity than give that much access to my private information to strangers.

I’m curious…Am I the only one out there who’s concerned about privacy? What’s your take on this?”

Hmmmm… What apps are on your devices?

What games do you play on your phone?

What third party apps through Facebook or other websites have you given permission to see your private information?

How trusted are those developers and companies?

Do you even know what information you’ve given them permission to see and use? What’s the app privacy policy?

 

Yikes! Food for thought.

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