Is Your Smartphone Spying On You?

Is Your Smartphone Spying On You? Protect user privacy on your business’ website and app.

Protect User Privacy On Your Business' Website and App

Between the smartphone in your pocket and the video doorbell on your porch, technology has made life pretty darn convenient. It’s also made it a little creepy.

The chances that a single agent is sitting in a room reading audio transcripts or listening to your conversation is highly unlikely. Instead, software powered by artificial intelligence is collecting information to learn more about you, most likely to determine which ads to show you.

While these practices seem sketchy at best, they aren’t illegal. Unlike the European Union, the United States doesn’t have as strict of laws regulating what companies can do with user data. Users readily give away their data in exchange for “free” apps that allow them to connect with their friends. While many users feel that they can trust companies with their data, or that they have nothing to hide, users don’t realize that they don’t have a right to privacy. Tech companies have few obligations for protecting user data.

The spy in your pocket

Perhaps you downloaded an app to participate in the latest social media craze, or you downloaded a game but decided you didn’t like it. You simply delete it, assuming you’ve ended your relationship with the app. It’s not that simple. Once you’ve agreed to the app’s terms and conditions, the app’s creators have access to whatever data you agreed to share (which you already know from reading the app’s lengthy terms and conditions, right?).

Even if you tighten the permissions on your apps, your data footprint exists outside your own apps and social media. If you have a social media account that you use to interact with a friend, that friend may not have enabled the same privacy protections. Tech companies are still learning about you from that page to build their profile on you.

Another concern people have is about their smart assistants, including iPhone’s Siri. Data collectors aren’t using these to listen to you through your phone. It’s simply another tool that forms a picture of where you go, what you like and what your needs are. Whether you’re searching for a plumber or making frequent trips to the gym, the data you use to make your life more convenient forms a highly accurate picture of you. That picture is worth a lot of money to advertisers.

What you can do

It may seem hopeless to escape the spying eyes of big data. Even if you don’t use certain sites and apps, interacting with your friends who do use these apps could still compromise your privacy.

While you may not be able to use every social media site that your friends are using, there are some things you can do to protect your privacy on your smartphone:

  • Be mindful about which sites you use. Look for apps, search engines and web browsers who are committed to user privacy. There are many alternatives that will protect your privacy.
  • Read the terms and conditions before agreeing to use apps. 
  • Review app permissions to see who really needs access to your location, contacts and camera.

You may never be able to go completely off the grid, but you should be mindful of how companies are using your privacy.

Talk to IDMI.Net today to learn more about how you can protect user privacy on your business’ website and app.