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7 worst apps that violate your privacy

7 worst apps that violate your privacy
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

When you're browsing through the millions of apps available from the Apple and Android app stores, you'll notice that close to 98% of them are free to download. That's great if you're looking to fill up your gadget, but many free apps, and some paid ones, do come with a hidden price: your privacy.

Permissions 101

When apps install on your gadget, they request permission to access certain information or phone features. Sometimes they need this information and sometimes it's not necessary.

A messaging app, for example, needs permission to access to your contacts and Wi-Fi connection to do its job. However, a Flashlight app doesn't need to know your location or have full Internet access.

Most people just hit "Accept" and install apps without reading what they do. Want to see something funny? Watch people's reactions when they actually read the permissions they're approving.

Apple gadgets let you approve or deny each permission individually. You can go to Settings>>Privacy and open a feature like the Camera to see and control what apps have permission to access it. Or you can go to Settings and scroll to the bottom and tap a particular app to see and control its permissions.

A similar system is coming to Android in the future version 6, dubbed Marshmallow. Until then, however, it's all or nothing for Android users. So, you need to decide just how badly you want the app.

Of course, that leaves us with the problem of how to tell if an app is on the up-and-up with its permissions. Most don't tell you what they use the data for, although some will if you contact the developer. Fortunately, you don't have to dig into every single app.

Next page: Reaching permissions

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