When was the last time you stopped and took a moment?
Moment to ponder over the permissions we give when we sign up at a tech company’s website or app.
Never happened, right?
Call it our carefree attitude or just plain oversight, we rarely ever stop to check what permissions are okay-ed from our end.
All that is about to change since according to research, tech companies are involved in:
- Tracking of your phone’s gyroscope
- Scanning of your private messages
- Selling your data to third-parties
That is what we are consenting to when giving permissions.
Is there a solution to all this?
There is. By using a VPN. A good VPN masks your IP address by making your location appear elsewhere on the planet. Your IP address is thus, secured.
Data snoopers such as your ISP and government surveillance agencies are also kept at bay since they cannot get hold of your private information.
Let us see some of these risks in turn.
When we sign in to our Twitter or Facebook app on our smartphones, the app is quick to ask for your precise location.
The app says it is to provide the user with a more customized experience. As a result, you allow the location access and that way the apps interact with your phone’s GPS to get hold of your IP address and other device settings.
Now, as long as the companies are doing this to gather data to provide you tailored experience, it’s alright. But there’s more to it.
The data is shared with its affiliates
So you have consented to terms and conditions as a result of which your data is now free to be shared among different companies in the same line of business.
For instance, Tinder collects data on its user base and share it with its fellow dating sites and apps such as OkCupid, Match.com, and Plenty of Fish, etc.
According to Tinder, it is all done to improve the overall user experience. Similarly, LinkedIn does it by sharing data for using affiliate services such as that of Microsoft’s.
The data is also sold to third-parties
Selling data to third-parties was the reason GDPR in the EU region came to pass, back in May. Not sure to what extent the implementation has realized but, at least the practice is expected to be curtailed with time and those not abiding will be penalized.
However, what about the rest of the world? GDPR does not prevent third-party data selling across the globe. The companies have documented it under their policies that their data may be shared with third-parties.
Apple does it by selling it to information and credit processing entities, so do Amazon for marketing purposes, etc.
Tinder is also known for gathering your gyroscope data, meaning, measuring your phone’s movements and even angles which your phone is pointing towards. Scary? Not really, but unless it is specified what it is being collected for, it’s just not cool.
Moreover, Facebook tends to keep your deleted searches, and you thought, they were completely removed. After some probing, it was revealed that the search logs were kept in records about 6 months before being permanently deleted.
For the better part of this year, we have seen Facebook in the limelight for different reasons. For invading privacy and sometimes for collaborating with the Russians etc. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we were to tell you that Facebook tracks what you do even when you’re signed out.
Even LinkedIn is revealed to go through your private messages. Basically, you are not safe. But with a VPN service, you can always stay ahead of the curve and minimize the risks.