When you download an app, the last thing you want to think about is it spying on you. Well, there’s a newly updated app that’s doing just that. It tracks your location through GPS, pairs with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, retrieves information from your other open apps, and even reads your phone status and ID.
The company decided not to be upfront about all of these added features because it was busy using the information to sell ads and data about you and other users.
A Reddit user first spotted the bug in the updated Dictionary.com app. The company initially disguised it as ‘bug fixes’ but now a company spokesperson admits Dictionary.com was collecting data about you to sell to advertisers.
The spin the company is using is that “the updates are designed to help us make Dictionary.com an even better experience.” The statement goes on to say that your location information is being used to enhance features such as mapping capability. The company said its app has been downloaded more than 100 million times. They promise to follow the “best practices” and communicate changes to users.
More information about spy apps came to light in 2015 when users were surprised to learn that downloading fun games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds could be intrusive.
Of course, Android users know all too well that cybercrooks like to use fake apps to spy on users. In fact, we just recently told you about a two-stage spyware attack that was being triggered by malicious apps.
There are also apps on the market that let parents spy on their children or other family members, let boyfriends and girlfriends spy on each other, and even let employers spy on their employees. There are five spy apps to be aware of.
Thankfully, there doesn't seem to be any malicious intent hiding within the code of the Dictionary.com app, at least as far as malware or spyware is concerned. It's just another example of developers overstepping their boundaries and gathering your private information to sell to advertisers.
Regardless, the question is now: Should you keep the Dictionary.com app (or any other app that's spying) on your tablet or phone? And, the answer is no. That is unless you don't mind that they're collecting data about you and selling it off to advertisers.
The only way to stop this app from collecting your data is to delete it altogether. If you need help finding the definition of a word, you could always use your phone's built-in spellchecker/lookup function, or open a private browser and use Dictionary.com's official website.