Smartphone apps have become an essential part of our daily lives. We depend on them to stay connected with friends, track our fitness goals, navigate to new destinations, and even order our favorite pizza. But have you ever wondered about the privacy policies that govern these apps? An analysis published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found serious problems with privacy and inconsistent privacy practices in mobile health apps. With about 21000 apps analyzed, the majority could access and potentially share personal data with third parties, including advertising and tracking services. With that being said, it’s time to start paying attention! This article will dive into the topic of data privacy and explore why you should care about your apps’ privacy policies.
Data Privacy and App Permissions
Let’s first get familiar with some basic concepts related to data privacy. In the context of apps, data privacy refers to how your personal information is collected, used, and shared by the app developing company and third parties. App permissions are the specific access rights that apps request to function on your device.
Caring about your apps’ privacy policies helps you understand what data is being collected and for what purpose. By staying informed, you can make better decisions about which apps you’re comfortable sharing your personal information with. You need to ask yourself if you feel like you can trust an app or company to share your personal data. Because if your personal data falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to make unauthorized transactions in your name, or even worse, manipulate, discriminate, or exploit you.
Data Sharing with Third Parties
Understanding the data sharing practices of your apps can help you minimize potential privacy risks and ensure your data is only shared with trusted partners.
Caring about your apps’ privacy policies ensures you’re using apps that prioritize data security and protect your sensitive information from potential breaches.
Many countries have introduced data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States. These regulations require app developers to be transparent about their data collection, usage, and sharing practices. They also give users more control over their personal data.
By paying attention to the privacy policies of your apps, you can ensure you’re using services that comply with the relevant data privacy laws and respect your rights as a user.
Control Over Your Data
Moreover, being aware of the privacy policies can help you identify which apps offer better data management options, like opting out of data collection or deleting your account. This knowledge empowers you to choose apps that respect your privacy preferences.
Here are some tips to help you evaluate the privacy policies of the apps you use more effectively:
- Check for data minimization. Apps should only collect the data necessary for their operation. If you notice an app collecting excessive data or data that doesn’t seem relevant to its function, it could be a red flag.
- Assess third-party data sharing. Pay attention to the list of third parties the app shares your data with, and whether you have the option to opt-out of data sharing. If an app shares your data with an extensive list of third parties or doesn’t offer opt-out options, you might want to reconsider using it.
Pay attention and take control
How we as developers of our mood tracking app Moodistory handle your privacy
As the developers of our mood tracking app Moodistory, we understand the risks and requirements that you as a user have. Your privacy has top priority! Therefore, by default, we keep ALL of your data on your device and ONLY on your device. This means, only you have access to your data. Since we do not story any of your data on any central server, you don’t even need to register an account. Everything stays on your device. Only for the data backup feature, you have the option to store it automatically in your iCloud. But this is 100% optional, and instead, you could save it e.g. to your private Nextcloud.
We see that a lot of other mood tracking apps love to collect personal information. They sell it to third parties or optimized their business. We don’t do that, and we are 100% committed to your privacy!