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Facebook Messenger: Evil phone app?

posted Aug 8, 2014, 7:21 AM by Craig Cox
Urban legend debunking site Snopes.com has an article out analyzing some stories circulating about Facebook Messenger.  To summarize the main points:
  • Yes, Messenger does ask for a lot of access -- but all that access relates to things Messenger actually does for you.
  • Most phone apps, in fact, ask for a surprising level of access.
  • The core problem is the ubiquity of these apps, and the low awareness of the details, not any one app in particular.
  • Fully understanding the privacy policies of all the technology you use would take a month out of your work year, each year.
The full article is well worth a read.  Since the advice "never buy or use a smart phone" is unrealistic, please consider the following tips:
  • Be selective about what apps you install.
  • Install only apps with some download history and good ratings behind them.
  • Keep in mind that There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, and for every "free" app you are somehow, some way, compensating an advertiser with information.
  • To make sure that your information goes no farther, please look at the phone security tips linked from our Travel Precautions page.

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