Mobile apps: A cautionary tale

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Do you know what your apps are doing at 2 a.m.? You may be shocked.

Whenever you find that perfect app, be sure to read the terms of service carefully before downloading it to your phone or other device. While more established app vendors have privacy safeguards in place, some less reputable firms do not. The FTC has reported cases of apps downloading all of a customer’s email contacts, as well as tracking the consumer’s daily shopping activities and selling all of the information to third party vendors. How did they get by with this?

Consumers didn’t bother to read the app terms of service agreement before clicking accept and downloading the app. Buried in the agreement was a description of all the rights granted to the app merchant, often with no means of opting out.

So before you click agree for your next new app, be sure to read the fine print. For more information on how to protect your privacy out – App-arently Someone is Watching Me. To learn more about safe use of mobile apps check out the FTC article on Understanding Mobile Apps.