This article, The Cost of Free Apps: Protecting Your Data Privacy In A FaceApp World, appeared in BOSS Magazine, where BIA’s Brian Schrader discusses the costly consequences that come with giving away personal data in exchange for access to the many “free” apps that are constantly being offered to us.
You may have heard or read about the photo-filter app FaceApp incident last year. This incident, where millions of users posted photos of their digitally “aged” faces on social media, seemed entertaining and perhaps even harmless at first glance. But in fact, this was only one example of the reality we face every day, which is that our personal data can quickly and easily land in hands we don’t know or like.
Your personal data is worth a LOT—and not just in terms of privacy. We’re talking cold, hard Benjamins. Your personal information has significant monetary value, because after you hand it over to app creators in exchange for the use of their “free” app, they can turn around and use your data for advertising purposes and/or sell it to outside parties. We should think of handing over our personal information in the same way we think about forking over the cash. (One might even argue that our personal data is even more valuable than cash.) Until we get into that mental habit, we’ll continue to simply click that value away.
So what to do? Those word games that still work when you’re stuck in a non-moving subway sure come in handy some days. Those airline booking apps do seem to have fewer screw-ups than their companies’ actual websites. Can anyone even imagine life without Google Maps? The key is to pay attention.
The next time you install a new app on any of your devices, spend a few extra seconds reading…and thinking. Is the personal information you’re about to give away worth what you are getting in return? Does the type of information being requested from the app company make sense? For example, if you’re installing a new game and it asks to access your contacts, stop and think about why it needs all your contacts in order for you alone to play a game. Well, it doesn’t. But once you give them permission, now the company can advertise to all your friends.
As consumers of a product or service, it’s both our right and our responsibility to understand what the cost is before we decide to buy or not. When we go into a restaurant, we look at the menu and see what the various dishes cost before we order and commit to purchasing that meal. Even if we’re given a blank check to spend on dinner, still we’re conditioned to at least glance at that price tag. We should think about the cost involved with installing apps on our devices no differently.
Still no such thing as a free lunch.
Are your employees hosting Oprah-Esque giveaways with their personal data—or worse—your corporate data that lives on their personal devices? Whether it’s personnel training to educate employees about data privacy and help establish good habits corp-wide; developing a BYOD Policy tailor-made to your company’s needs; or making sure your company data doesn’t leave along with an exiting employee’s device(s), our trained and certified experts at BIA are ready to help.
You’ve got Apps. What do the Apps have of you?
Read the complete article for more details on the FaceApp incident, data privacy policies by app developers, and what it all has to do with you. Gain a better understanding of what we are really giving up when we click or tap away from our personal data.