– What do apps with really invasive data collections actually get from users, and should I delete an app that I just discovered does this?

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I’ve had a game I’ve been playing on my phone for a year or so now. I noticed they made a sequel and checked it out. Now that the Apple App Store shows you pretty plainly an idea of what data the apps mine, I checked out the one I’ve had for a while. Reading their privacy policy, they state they have collected users basic info- name, email, phone number- but also information like drivers license and social security numbers. Am I screwed? Do I delete the app?

In: 67

All of the major companies do this, they buy, sell and trade this data. If you don’t want that company to have access than yes delete, if you think the company may potentially lose your data or allow hackers to do their thing. Sony playstation had 300million some odd credit cards stored on a unsecured open access website. So If that’s how they store your bank info imagine how the others use your information?

Far more effective if you just throw your phone in the bin. Literally every single company is tracking everything. If the application is free you’re the product.

Absolutely delete it. That is deeply invasive. It also means they have enough information to steal your identity and take out loans in your name which you will be responsible for. Don’t just delete it. Zero out ALL its permissions. These are “Sucker” apps.

Download DuckDuckGo and use tracking protection. Last week it tells me that it stopped 30,000 tracking attempts.

The answer is “behavioral surplus.” When you use an app you provide obvious information, like how often you play, your friends list and stuff. But you also provide other kinds of information. When you use Uber the app knows where you were and where you were going. It knows who you were with. It knows when you like to travel, and common places you go. It knows where you live. It knows where you work. It knows when you sleep based on usage patterns. They know who you spend time with regularly (family and intimate partners) and who your friends are (based on proximity and frequency).

Uber Eats knows our favorite restaurants, what we like to eat, what times we get hungry.

So our phones know so much about us, and this is valuable. Advertisers want to know this obviously but so do insurance companies, and financial institutions (credit score for example), law enforcement can get this information. In the USA they need a subpoena to get your cellphone records. But they can buy usage data from a data broker legally and without a warrant and learn the same kinds of information about…. say… everyone at a protest. And then build profiles of those people based on that information, and plot out relationship networks.

Google “Surveillance Capitalism” if you want to read more in depth about this topic.
Here is an article to get you started:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/24/opinion/sunday/surveillance-capitalism.html