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What To Look For When Downloading Apps

December 12, 2012, 5:32 PM by Peggy Moyer

What To Look For When Downloading Apps

When you download an app for Angry Birds or any of the other popular apps for kids this Christmas, it’s a good idea to read the disclaimer statement first.

Anytime a person downloads a game app, they're agreeing to the terms and conditions in the company's privacy statements. 

The Angry Birds statement reads like a legal document. But taking a closer look, you'll see that the app allows companies to extract information about you and your device for future use.

"It's the type of information that's going to help app developers better their product," Click Rain vice president of operations Eric Ellefson said.

If you don't have time to read the entire privacy statement, there are a few things you should look for.

The first one is personal data. Companies use that information to identify how old you are, if you're male or female, or what stores you like to shop most. Third party companies pay for the data. And while it might sound intrusive, Ellefson says there are benefits.

"I don't want them to serve me ads regarding a Macy's sale on red shoes. I don't want to know that. But I might want to know Lowes has a sale on heaters or snow blowers because I'm in the market for one of those based on my search history," Ellefson said.

Also look for the disclosure information. This is where the company tells you exactly what it's going to do with your data and who it will share it with.

The other category worthy of noting is non-personal data. That includes things like your IP address and what type of operating system you're using. It allows them to know exactly where you are.

"Telling people where you are at any given time is great if your stranded in a snow storm, but if you are just waling around the streets of Sioux Falls, you do not want somebody on the west coast or east coast being able to ping your exact location," Ellefson said.

Ellefson says you always have the ability to restrict access to your information. Whether it’s disabling the GPS and access to the internet while children are playing to tightening security on Facebook or other social mediums, if you search for the tools in your devices, you can protect your data better.

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