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Data hungry apps
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Security & privacy

Data-hungry apps: These are the worst for your privacy

Big Tech is always after your data, and that’s especially bad when it affects national security. TikTok has been accused of spying and sending U.S. data to China. Tap or click here to keep your info safe.

Facebook, Instagram, PayPal, YouTube, eBay, Google, and TikTok. These are some of the biggest names in tech, with billions of active users worldwide. You likely have accounts with some or all of these companies. Did you read the fine print before agreeing to their privacy policies? Most people don’t.

Just what is the extent of information these companies are collecting on you? Which are the worst offenders? Read on for our report.

Do you ever read the fine print?

According to a Pew survey, 97% of Americans say they’ve been asked to approve privacy policies. Yet only a handful of adults say they always (9%) or often (13%) read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing to it.

And 38% of adults say they sometimes read these policies, but 36% say they never read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing. You are with most app users if you’ve ever consented to a privacy policy without thoroughly reading through its terms. That’s not good at all.

Business lender OnDeck put together a list of 200 of the most invasive apps in terms of data collection. The worst offenders track data segments, such as your name, payment methods, precise location, purchases, contacts, browsing history, search history, diagnostics and more.

RELATED: The hidden privacy report in your phone you should start checking

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • Facebook Messenger is the most invasive communications app, requiring permission for 32 data segments.
  • PayPal is the most invasive finance app, collecting 26 data segments.
  • eBay is the most invasive e-commerce app, collecting 21 data segments.
  • Glassdoor is the most data-hungry HR and employee management app, requiring 21 data segments.
  • Google Drive is the most invasive content and files app, collecting 19 data segments.

How to quickly scan Terms of Service

You’ll always give up some privacy when using an app. The app’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service explain what information it collects and where that information is going. If you’re not going to read the whole thing, try this workaround instead:

  • Open up the Terms of Service (ToS) on your computer. Hit Ctrl + F on Windows or Cmd + F on a Mac. 
  • Search for terms like “GPS,” “photos,” “third-party,” “cookies,” and “tracking.”
  • If anything in what you find makes you uncomfortable, delete the app or don’t download it if you haven’t yet.

Another way to protect your privacy

Whenever you give out your email address, you expose yourself to spam and malware disguised as legitimate messages. There’s a clever trick to keep your inbox clean. Burner email addresses are disposable and can be used in place of your primary ones.

Tap or click here to create a burner you can give to any website or service you sign up with.

Keep reading

Here’s what Amazon knows about you when you use a Ring doorbell

10 popular apps that are dangerous for Android and iPhone

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