The True Cost of a Free App

By Sandra Quinn

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There is no such thing as a free lunch — this is something we all know, yet when it comes to free apps, we put our blind faith in the integrity of the word free and take it all at face value.

We click ‘I Agree’ on Terms and Conditions without so much as giving them a cursory glance and do not really regard them as contracts, so much as tired steps we have to go through in order to get to the golden nugget, which is the app we want.

It is an odd concept when you really think about and thinking about it is something people are doing more of since the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the introduction of the new GDPR changes.

Indulge me for a moment and take a little quiz…

  • Would you rock up to a stranger and give them access to your contacts?
  • Have you ever considered broadcasting your passwords to all and sundry?
  • Are you comfortable with someone you do not know having access to your text messages, location, camera, voice recorder, call log and more?
  • How does the idea of someone remotely activating your camera or voice recorder make you feel?

If your answers to those four questions were on the negative side, it is time to think about what you are giving away for free when you download a free app.

You are giving developers and corporates your name, address, picture, date of birth and access to most aspects of your smart phone, yet most of us do it without hesitation or much thought.

Even after downloading, few of us ever click into the App Permissions to adjust exactly what kind of access each app has and think about the access in terms of the functionality of the app.

In a time when we should be even more careful about our privacy, perhaps it is time to look at the devices on our person and think about what kind of information we are giving away for free every single day.

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Horizon offers a suite of integrated securities software applications for compliant issuance through secondary trading of electronic securities.

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