Privacy is a growing concern for many companies and lawmakers and there is no shortage of mobile privacy reports and stories on the web. Unfortunately the stories are a playground for the mainstream media to grab and skew for shock value, and I would like to clarify a few things that try and scare everyone into thinking all mobile app developers are using shady practices such as tracking your whereabouts.
As a developer we generally do not use geo location data for anything other than:
- "Device ID" for anything more than reconciling marketed conversions
- Being more specific with the advertising being shown to you
And it's not the developers that are doing this, but the ad networks we use to monetize our apps.
As an example last night on a late-night TV show they announced that if you play the game Angry Birds, they are tracking your location! This is simply not true – the makers of Angry Birds are not tracking your location and saving it in a database somewhere so that they can know your whereabouts. What is really happening is your one-time geo location stamp is being sent in to a mobile ad network so that they can better target advertising to you in hopes that you will get more localized offers that appeal to you. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time on the Internet, and even if your geolocation can't be attained, IP address mapping is still used to find you.
It's unfortunate to me that a lot of finger-pointing is going back to the mobile developer, when in effect we ourselves are trying to keep up with all of the latest privacy laws and reinforcements too. We don't want to track your every move, and we don't care about the apps you have installed, and we certainly don't want to pear into your private files and contacts.
There are a few bad apples out there that are intentionally, and knowingly breaking privacy laws in order to gain more revenue, and eventually they will be caught and shut down.
I think I speak for at least 98% of all other mobile developers out there when I say, we are the good guys, we work on your behalf, and we certainly don't want to violate any rules. We are mobile users too and we value not only your privacy, but our privacy as well :)
We think mobile privacy is a good thing, not something that keeps us up at night wondering how to circumvent it.
It's our goal to develop and publish fun games, useful applications, and anything that would entertain and be useful, and hopefully keep our wheels turning so our teams can develop more of the same for the future ahead of us all.
The last thing we want to do is bypass any governing laws, or violate the integrity of the mobile environment so that the users that download more apps are reluctant to engage.
Read more: http://appdevelopermagazine.com
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