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New Study Shows What Information Apps Are Taking From You

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We live in the age of information sharing. How many times a day do you share with people where you are, what you’re doing, what you’re eating, who you’re with, what you’re wearing? The list is endless. However, it’s not just sharing your life on social media that should be a worry. It’s the information apps are taking from you too… A new study aims to bring to light exactly what information your most used apps are looking at, without you knowing.

Snapchat

It’s thought to be one of the most private forms of messaging, seeing as once something has been viewed it is lost forever. Well, that may not actually be the case if you read through the small print carefully. The app collects plenty of data while you’re using it, including what time you usually open messages, what lenses you use, how often you speak to certain people, and a whole lot more. Snapchat also logs information about the pages you view before you use their services. Make sure you’re not looking at anything naughty!

Facebook

There has been some serious controversy over the data Facebook (and its partner apps) collects, over the years.┬áIn fact, a read through their privacy policy shows that these apps want to know practically everything there is to know – including your battery level and signal strength… Weird! One of the most fascinating and perhaps scary uses of all your information is for academic research. Facebook actually made the headlines last year when it was found that they were manipulating user’s feeds to see whether it made them happy or sad. Now that’s some serious mind control.

Google

You have to kind of face facts with this one – Google knows everything. It knows where you are using Maps, it knows what you search, it even knows what’s in your inbox using Gmail. However, Google are quite adamant that the only use for this information is to tailor advertisements. Ever wondered why you keep seeing ads for that book you searched for last week on other sites? You can thank Google. It’s creepy, but Google own the internet pretty much so most people just accept it for what it is.

Spotify

This music streaming service surely doesn’t know much more than what you’re listening to or what music you like, right? Well… The app also needs permission from the accelerometer in your phone. Before you start worrying that the masterminds at Spotify are tracking your movements, it’s simply to enable the Running feature (apparently). Spotify is also another app that may share your information with academic researchers. Interesting!

Uber

This app has hit the headlines (again!) recently thanks to something dubbed “God view”. This enables people at the company to view one giant map showing all of the Uber cars on the road at any given time. While this may be useful in some respects, it has been said that Uber parties have used this ‘God view’ as decoration on the walls. Hardly very private! It can also access your contacts, which is apparently for when you want to split fares.

It seems as though most apps and companies are all out to collect very similar pieces of data; usually for advertising purposes or analytics. However, it’s always a good idea to read through those privacy policies and find out exactly what you’re handing over when you download any app.

 

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About the author

Rebecca Walton

Rebecca has always been fascinated with the business and tech world, having grown up with parents in the industry. She has a real passion for science - particularly space and the unknown realms that surround the planet! Rebecca has been writing for different publications for nearly 6 years and is now an editor at Pangaea Express.