When their ‘Privacy Policy’ sucks. What do you do?

Image, courtesy Michael Geiger on Unsplash

Let’s see what you make of this privacy statement. You’ve probably clicked on hundreds of similar ones and never cared to read them. Beware! Many companies count on you doing just that, so they pack all kinds of double-speak into it. You’re basically giving away the farm, and provide them with a legal defense to spy on you.

When you visit our websites, use our apps, read our emails or otherwise engage with us, we may automatically collect certain information about your device through a variety of technologies, including cookies, web beacons, log files, embedded scripts, location-identifying technologies, or other tracking/recording tools (collectively, “Tracking Technologies”), and we may combine this information with other personal information we collect about you.

Do most of us know – or care – about ‘web beacons’ or scripts? Here’s how Wikipedia authors define a web beacon:

“It is software used “to unobtrusively (usually invisibly) allow checking that a user has accessed some content.[1] Web beacons are typically used by third parties to monitor the activity of users at a website for the purpose of web analytics or page tagging.[2] They can also be used for email tracking.[3

Basically spyware we agree to have on our devices. Consider this statement: “With your permission, we may also access your photo or camera roll.” Wow! Those plots in espionage movies about someone remotely turning on a camera or accessing images from a phone’s camera folder isn’t the stuff of dystopian fiction, is it?

As always, it starts with an innocuous statement.

I was a bit shocked to see that the privacy policy in question went on to state that “We take your privacy as seriously as you do, and we are committed to protecting it.” In other words, they do want to secure our privacy; we have the right to opt-out of certain data being collected. But……If we object to any of the changes to the policy, we “must cease using our Products and/or Services, and may request us to erase your personal information.” Which is neither here nor there.

There’s only one cure for this invasion of privacy disease. Delete the app, for heaven’s sake. It’s not really free.

______________________________________________________

The above excerpt of a Privacy Policy is from a company whose app I used when my daughter began driving. It’s a terrible surveillance tool. The company will not be named but you probably know who it is.

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