Every day thousands of people download new applications onto their smart phones without much care for the terms of service they so easily agree to. What most of these people don’t know is they may be volunteering information and allowing for companies to gather data without their consent. Recently a company called Pinch Media was charged with being a little too invasive when it comes to gathering information through their iPhone apps.
According to one iPhone developer, applications using Pinch Media can retrieve information like your phone’s personal ID number and can work in conjunction with other applications like Facebook to determine your gender, birth year and even your exact longitude and latitude. Pinch Media has been accused of gathering information that has nothing to do with its applications. Instead, they have been using this data collection for advertisements and other marketing purposes. Worse, is that this information is often taken without the consent of the user and more often than not does not allow the user the option to stop the information gathering.
Pinch Media has fought back by arguing that they are completely within their rights to retrieve the information as long as the user gives consent when they agree to the terms of the application. Regardless of whether or not the information they gathered is being used for good or ill mannered purposes one thing is certain. Smart phone users should pay more attention to the terms of service they agree to. A simple visit to a software developer’s web site can be the difference between you using your applications and your applications using you. Take the time out to read the fine print, and if you aren’t sure about something – email the company directly with your questions or concerns.