The App of the Week is a column that we have a lot of fun writing. Let’s be honest, it’s great to find a new app for your iPhone or your Android phone, and play around with it. But this week, no cool new apps for us. Instead we are going to talk about the privacy rights we all regularly give away for our 99 cent (or even free) applications. How many of you guys actually read the terms and conditions of what you download on your smart phones? I know I don’t. And well, we’re agreeing to a lot.
Yesterday, The London Sunday Times reported that Facebook admitted that they look at the text messages of users who download their app on their smart phones. Facebook claims it is research for their own messaging service that they will be launching (not that it matters). We have all agreed give them that access by agreeing to their terms and conditions. Also reported in the articles is how other apps like Flickr access certain personal information, Youtube can access your camera at any time, and some app companies are even intercepting phone calls.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how certain companies are stealing our contacts through iPhone apps, uploading them to their own servers, and then selling them to third parties. Yet, I didn’t throw out my iPhone and I am not going to now. The smart phone is a great tool for creatives trying to build their careers. We can email from anywhere, we can network on the train, we can record our ideas, and that list goes on for miles. So what can we do?
There are two things. First, we all need to stop being so lazy and read the terms & conditions of everything we download (not just on our smart phones) no matter how damn long it is. Second, we need to make others aware of the privacy rights we are all losing on a daily basis, so maybe enough hoopla will get some of our wonderful elected officials to actually pass some legislation protecting our privacy a little more.
But, I wouldn’ t hold my breath on that one.
Don’t worry we won’t look at your text messages (only because we don’t know how).