It's Always in the Back of Your Mind: Which of These Apps Are Watching Me and Selling My Data?

We can’t really know which companies sell our data unless we ask them—or someone exposes the ones who do. 
It's Always in the Back of Your Mind: Which of These Apps Are Watching Me and Selling My Data?
It's Always in the Back of Your Mind: Which of These Apps Are Watching Me and Selling My Data?

This leaves many users wary about using applications, even though they’re enticing, engaging, and useful for daily life. Scandals have shed light on just how vulnerable users are, and it’s traumatizing. 

Nobody wants their information to be sold to strangers, much less without their permission.

But, how can we protect ourselves? 

With Apple’s latest privacy upgrades, applications become more transparent about what they do with our data, and everybody’s all for it. Find out the different scandals that shook the world in 2018 and how Apple gives users more power to avoid ever getting dragged into similar scandals in the future. 

Privacy Breaches and Scandals 

In 2018, the world was shocked to find out that a simple quiz app could harvest your personal data and that those who can easily obtain these data can sell it to the likes of election campaigns. 

It sparked controversies and scandals, which made that year quite eventful. Several more scandals hit the headlines, specifically about the fitness app Polar.

During this year, researchers were able to procure private information about security personnel in the United States. The application wasn’t as keen on protecting its users’ data, making it easy to obtain who they were, where they lived, and how fast their hearts were beating. 

To this day, many are still skeptical about the apps they use. In fact, people still think that their applications are watching them and selling their data. 

Can we blame them for thinking this way when it had already happened before? 

Of course not, but many companies swear that it’s not company practice to harvest and sell their users’ personal data. Though, they might still need to do a little more explaining about what kind of information they collect for their own use. 

Apple’s latest releases might finally help us make sure none of these ever happen again. At least, not under our watch. Who knows how far companies can go, right?  

Apple’s Latest Launches

We’re all guilty of skimming through terms and agreements because, let’s face it, they are lengthy and wordy. Sure, we want to protect our personal lives, but nobody really has the patience to read through 100+ clauses. 

But with Apple’s latest launches, we now have a way of knowing how much information applications take from us—in the simplest way possible. 

At the WWDC 2020, several privacy improvements were announced by this global company, and it’s definitely making life easier for users. 

It’s going to be enjoyed by iOS 14 and macOS 11 users, so if you want in on the benefits, you might want to purchase a product of theirs yourself. Here’s why:

Privacy Nutrition Labels

One such privacy improvement is Privacy Nutrition Labels. 

Privacy Nutrition Labels require app developers to explain every privacy practice they have. The explanation has to be detailed, specifically covering what kinds of data they’ll collect, why they’re collecting it, and how all this information will be used. 

And they have to present it like nutritional labels so that users can easily understand and read through them—hence the name Privacy Nutrition Labels. 

Cross-App Tracking 

You may already know this, but some apps track you across other apps—essentially known as cross-app tracking. 

Marketers usually use this to ensure that specific ads reach you wherever you are. While it’s useful for them, it’s not really appealing for most users, which is why Apple has also placed safety nets for it. 

Users will now be able to decide whether or not they’ll grant special permissions for these apps to track you. Unless the app’s sole reason for tracking you is so that it can protect you from fraud and keep you safe, they obviously can’t do it. 

Filming and Recording Indicator

People had also been skeptical about apps recording and filming moments of our lives without our permission. It’s a scary thing when there’s literally nothing to notify us about whether or not our cameras and microphones start recording.

With Apple’s privacy update, this kind of activity won’t go unnoticed. 

Users will see an orange circle appear just above the network signal icon when an application is accessing the camera or microphone. You can easily tell whether or not something unusual is happening with a visual indicator. 

So, no need to worry about unauthorized recording; you’ll see it quickly if it does happen.

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