Deciding on which app has access to private information is the best way to limit the risk of those apps tracking your private data.
Q. How can you check up on what apps are doing with your data?
A. The mail-management service Unroll.meÂ was heavily criticized when a New York Times profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick mentioned the ride-hailing company had bought data from Unroll.me showing peopleâs use of the competing service Lyft.
Users of Unroll.me, which offers to declutter your inbox by identifying the subscriptions youâve accumulated, then offering one-click unsubscriptions and a daily digest of those you do want, were not amused at the notion that Uber got even an anonymized look at their Lyft ride history.
CEO Jojo Hedaya asked for forgiveness in a blog post. âWhile we try our best to be open about our business model, recent customer feedback tells me we werenât explicit enough,â he wrote.
What Unroll.me doesâcompiles data from a large base of users, strips out personally identifying information like names and addresses, and then extracts patterns from the anonymized remainsâis incredibly common in the tech business. For example, Google Maps would be far less useful if it wasnât informed by anonymized and aggregated data showing which routes were faster or slower.
But Unroll.me (which USA TODAY writers have previouslyÂ recommended) stands apart from other data-driven services because it needs access to your entire inbox. The travel-management app TripIt Â (alsoÂ covered here) will also make the same request so it can find messages about upcoming travel, but you can also forward those e-mails to the service yourself.
Thatâs a common failing in Silicon ValleyâIâve probably seen more than a hundred startup pitches that glossed over how the dot-com would make moneyâand it invites episodes like this. If a firm canât tell you upfront how it will earn the income needed to give you a free service (see, for example, Facebookâs explanation of its ad business model), you should look elsewhere.
More often, an app doesnât ask you to hand over the keys and instead makes a more nuanced request. In Android and iOS, for…