How To Find Out if Your Newest Phone App is Sharing Your Private Data
With data privacy becoming an alarming issue in the last few years, it’s not surprising that we need to be suspicious of every application we download and every site we browse. Tracking cookies are as commonplace now as googling questions. If you’re not already using private browsing, you might want to employ this method of searching the internet. You can set most browsers to a private session from the toolbar or from settings. If that’s too much work, you can also use DuckDuckGo which is a private browser. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track your search history and doesn’t set tracking or third-party cookies.
When downloading applications to your smartphone you need to vet them and make sure they have a good reputation for data privacy. It’s recommended to read any reviews written and do a quick search for the company to see if there are any complaints. If there are complaints, then you should avoid that app. If the reviews are mostly bad, you should avoid that app. If you’re trying to protect your privacy to some extent, don’t provide your phone number to the app, use an alias name and email address and don’t sign-up for a paid subscription. Make sure you check your iPhone subscriptions to make sure any new app isn’t automatically setting you up to pay after a “trial” period. This is a new ploy used by phone apps to get recurring charges out of you. If you feel an app is worth a monthly fee, then pay the fee, if not, get rid of it. Alternatively, stick with apps that charge one flat rate, as computer software apps mostly do. This way you only pay once and can use the app for an unlimited period of time. Subscriptions can get unruly, and you should be careful when signing up for them. Always do a trial before purchasing any app. If the company doesn’t offer a brief trial of their paid version, then don’t bother. There are probably dozens of similar apps out there confident enough to let you try before you buy.
If after you try an app, you think it’s totally fantastic and you decide to purchase it, keep an eye on your phone for a few weeks. If you start noticing some issues on your phone, it may be the app. It’s wise to download only one app at a time so you can pinpoint which might be causing problems like battery drain, crashing, random screen openings and other problems. Make sure you set your phone settings to only allow location when using the app, and only if your location is relevant to the apps functioning. For example, a map app needs your location, a selfie-face perfector does not need your location. If you notice anything really wonky, delete the app and see what happens. Does the problem go away? If so, that’s validation that the app either had bugs, was reporting data back to the developers or had spyware installed, or all three. Ask for a refund, maybe you’ll get it. You can save yourself the lost dollars by doing this check before you pay. If you see problems, don’t buy it. Sometimes people don’t experience issues until they actually pay for the app, so this is something to be aware of.
If your data is already being shared online, you can do a multiple browsers search to find out to what extent your data is being shared. If you find that your name, address, age, salary, phone number and other data is appearing on websites, then you need to take immediate action to keep that data from being misused. An internet removal service can help delete information that you find sensitive and private from the internet. They can do a thorough search removal and make sure to remove your name from the internet along with any other identifying data. You’ll feel a lot better knowing that your former spouse’s name and your former addresses aren’t online anymore, and you’ll sleep a lot better knowing your privacy is protected.