User beware?

Posted by on December 10, 2018 · 2 mins read

A recent article came out in the New York Times discussing how a multitude of mobile apps collect location data and resell it to advertisers for better ad targeting purposes.

As a person who has a stake in this industry, it’s very difficult to put the blame on the users of mobile apps. How do they know what happens to their data after it’s collected? What the government tried to do in Europe with GDPR is noble, but let’s get real, those politicians will put processes in place where the lawyers end up making the most money in the end. It won’t help protect end users.

I think app developers will need to be responsible enough to let users know what is happening their data. The tooling companies that help app developers will also need to cooperate to make this transparent. How this gets done in a way that’s agreeable and obvious is hard to say right now, but the tension in this area is ripe with opportunity for entrepreneurs to solve.

If I’m a user though, it would be amazing to find a service that allows me to see which apps and services collect my data then opt out of collection from any of those apps / services immediately. I’d like to think the government could put something in place, but I actually think this will end up being a trusted and verified third party. Ironically FB is probably in the best position to do this, but somehow I’m not sure if their business model is built in a way that users would be able to understand what they are doing. I do think, however, if they could pull something like this off, it would change their image 180 degrees.