Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing.
In our ever evolving mobile age, apps are a must have on our devices. Whether you want to clip coupons, like through Target’s Cartwheel app, watch your favorite shows while you’re out (thank you Disney Junior!), or just have fun with photo filters and Face Swaps, our phones have become essential in the things we do every day, giving it equal everyday importance to that of wallets and keys.
Before we can enjoy the fun and helpfulness of new apps, it must first be downloaded. Part of that initial download, however, the app asks for permission to access portions of your phone. These permissions can vary from app to app, but generally include your identity, email, location, contacts, photos, camera, microphone, and messaging. So, why would an app need those?
This is where you must decide whether an app is something you need or not. Apps that have access to email, can access and use the information in your email, despite an email being private or confidential. Accessing your phone’s camera and microphone can be equally unsettling, because once an app has been downloaded, it can use your camera to take photos and your microphone to record audio, all of which no longer needs your permission. While it is unknown how often this actually happens and what app companies do with the information they gather, it is known that there are many companies that make profits selling consumer information.
There are, however, other reasons an app would need access to your phone, many of which are completely legitimate. For example, I would expect a Map app to need to access my phone location and Snapchat would need access to the camera and other media files.
While app permissions vary, it is ultimately up to you which ones you choose to download. If you ever question why an app might need specific permissions, an easy way to find out is to simply google whatever app it is plus the word “privacy”. You can then read what each app needs, why, and what they do with the information they receive.
For more information on how SafeSourcing can help keep your information safe and source what you need, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.