Apps vs. Privacy: To Install or not to Install?

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You’ve just installed the latest social media app and it’s asking for various permissions. Do you accept? Do you read the T&C’s? Or do you just us the app and forget you ever saw them?

Last week I looked at our unhealthy relationship with apps and online services. In that post Mark James of ESET fame suggested that the “perception of privacy” is a “forgotten concept” once the app or service “becomes a part of your daily life”.

Ignoring the T&C’s

Honestly, how often do you read through the T&C’s for an app, online service or piece of software? Not often, if ever, I’d wager.

Mark explains that part of the problem is that “if my friends are using this amazing append I want to join the crowd and use that app… I will almost certainly be presented by a list of things it can or cannot do.

“Most people will never read them or take any notice at all, why? Because if I don’t accept them I can’t install the app. Your privacy often comes a close second to actually being able to use the app.”


Mark says that “sadly the providers of the software are fully aware” that you probably won’t take much notice of the permissions.

“We just don’t take [privacy] seriously enough, “private” pictures or videos appear on the internet on a weekly basis.

“We state we don’t want to be tracked yet connect to free public Wi-Fi whenever available.” As I mentioned in a past blog post, folks will give their information away dirt cheap when faced with a delicious cookie or delectable new app.

Mark explains that another aspect of the problem is that users don’t understand what “personally identifiable information” is at all times.

IP addresses, locations and information contained within your pictures or texts may all reveal a lot more about you than just knowing your name.”

It’s scary to see masses of supposedly private information leak at the rate it does but I can’t see it changing until we, as users, take a stand. Then maybe we will see features of an app locked off unless we allow certain permissions, but have the core functionality working without, or at least with less intrusive, intrusive permissions.