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Can an App Protect Your Privacy?
By: Jessica Cherok
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PRISM has gotten a lot of us thinking about which of our personal information is vulnerable to being collected without our knowledge. It only makes sense that many people have been in a rush to download those apps that claim to help better protect their privacy.

A lot of the apps promise privacy, but few deliver any real protection, especially when it comes to requests from the federal government. And while some apps do better than others in what they can do, no app offers all-encompassing protection. Considering how pricey some of the available apps are, it’s important to know exactly what they can and can’t do.

It all comes back to reading Terms of Service. Unfortunately, TOS statements are often lengthy, convoluted, and heavy with legal jargon. The average person doesn’t read what they’re agreeing to, and even if they did, it would almost be too complex to digest. Or too vague in some portions to really get a clear idea of the meaning.

While the PRISM program was certainly not public knowledge, there are a lot of protection gaps already. Many TOS state things like “all” or “any” when it comes to your data, as well as “at [the company’s] sole discretion.” If you’re using an application with this kind of language in its TOS, it’s worth taking the extra time to think about what kind of personal information you’re supplying.


   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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