Mobile Apps: Permissions, Privacy and Protection

The number of mobile app users will double in a year’s time, and with it comes the issue of privacy and protection. Apps always require users to give certain “permissions” for tapping personal information. More often than not, users would unmindfully hit the YES button without taking the time to read and understand the terms of agreement, which is so long and taxing to read, by the way.

Users want to test a newly installed app right away – but at what cost?

Free Mobile Apps

Apps are never free. Although some are supposedly free of cost, app developers always have a way to make money. Advertising is one avenue for generating income. Most free apps are basic versions, and users will then have to pay to upgrade them or to obtain more features.

Apps and Permissions

Permissions allow apps to access data on your gadget including your phone and email contacts, call logs, Internet data, pictures and videos, device location, ID’s and personal activity. Users must observe due diligence and not just accept and download apps without fully understanding the consequences.

Protect Your Privacy

Users who value their privacy might as well avoid downloading any mobile app. Apps and permissions are inseparable. It is a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing. However, most of these permissions are relatively harmless, unless you have actually downloaded a malware.

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Know each permission in depth. Go through the list of permissions and tap each one to know specific information. Do not just tap and go.

Beware of updates and in-app purchases. Manual updates require additional permissions. For the most part, updates actually provide security patches against malware attacks.

Monitor and tweak permissions. Ironically, there are actually apps designed to manage permissions. These apps keep tabs of the data your apps are accessing and act as firewall. Still others alert you of the danger levels of each app.

The best way to protect your privacy is abstinence from mobile apps, which is relatively impossible to do. Before downloading anything, make sure you really need that app. Understand each requested permission and restrict access as much as possible. Remember though that tweaking permissions may cause apps to crash or malfunction.

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