Red Flag No. 1: Complexity
Apps with complex policies that bury exactly what a person agrees with (such as sharing their information with third parties) are disingenuous for the company and should be avoided, said Henein.
"If the language is complex and you read the first paragraph and it doesn't make sense to the average person, it tells me that the company really didn't include people in the equation," said Henein. "You have to be careful."
Red Flag No. 2: Implicit Agreement
Read more: Most Americans do not believe it is possible to keep their data private, the report says
Red Flag # 3: Data Collection and Monetization
According to Engin Kirda, a professor at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University, what a political agreement on data collection says is another important factor to consider before downloading. The app goes hand in hand with this, Kirda said – especially if it can be downloaded for free.
Monetizing an app with ads can mean that it offers better service, but it can also benefit from selling your data. However, there is a difference between collecting some necessary information for the app to be useful and collecting a lot of information that may be sold to third party advertisers or that could be stolen.
Other app warning signs
While it's important to know what's in a policy agreement, there are other red flags that you can recognize without reading the document, Kirda said. Another important red flag is which permissions an app asks for. For example, a calculator app does not need access to your microphone or your location. Also make sure that you can use the app after you denied permissions, he added. If you ask for unnecessary permissions, this can indicate shameful activities, e.g. For example, an app that has access to your call logs or collects data from your Wi-Fi connections.
"Many services reserve the right to change the policy the day after you sign up and never keep the version you read when you signed up," said de Jong.
De Jong is also believed to have been looking for websites where you can sign a class action waiver, which means that they can sue you, but you cannot sue them.
What you can do
For example, the website classifies Google as Class C because it has the ability to read a user's private messages, track a user on other websites, and more. The batch overflow has been classified as Class E due to its third-party tracking practices, which means that class action lawsuits and more are waived.
Henein described Microsoft as a good example for the representation of website terms: The technology company outlines its data protection guidelines on about three pages, which are divided into sections for reasons of structure and clarity.
Tosback.org is a website where change logs are kept by legal guidelines that, according to de Jong, sometimes go back years. The project was started by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but is now part of ToS; DR.
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