Are Online Shopping Apps Invading Your Privacy?

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Picture this: You’re nestled comfortably on your favourite sofa, cradling a warm mug of coffee, scoring a bargain on that must-have gadget, all from the comfort of your home. Pretty idyllic, right? That’s the beauty of online shopping. But hold on a moment, mate, don’t get too lost in the reverie. We’ve got a few dark and stormy privacy and security clouds on the horizon we need to address.

Not every shopping app that graces your phone’s screen has your best interests at heart. How many times have you clicked ‘install’ without sparing a second glance at those cumbersome privacy policies? I’m sure we’ve all been there. The thrill of a new app can indeed be a heady brew! But did you know some of these apps might be giving your smartphone the equivalent of a full-body scan? That’s right, your personal data, and subsequently, your privacy, could be on thin ice.

Have you heard of the shopping app SHEIN? Of course, you have, it’s all the rage these days! But what if I told you it’s not just a fashionable place to snag the latest trends but also a sneaky little bugger spying on you? Recently, our IT Support experts uncovered SHEIN’s less than savoury pastime: nosing around in users’ copy-paste activities. What an unexpected and unwanted guest!

It appears SHEIN wasn’t only reading the text you copied but also had eyes on your GPS location. It’s like it pulled a sneaky ‘where’s Wally’ on you, gathering data from your device sensors, including your accelerometer and gyroscope. Talk about invading personal space!

The developers responded by saying they were just trying to ‘optimise user experience.’ That old chestnut! Their assurance that the data was for internal use didn’t sit well with our Managed IT specialists in Brisbane and Mackay, who were quick to raise the alarm about this invasive data collection.

But hold onto your hats, there’s more! Temu, another shopping app making waves since its Superbowl Ad, has also been caught with its hands in the data cookie jar. They’re having a field day with your personal details, from your name, address, and phone number to your social media activity and browsing data.

So, how do we fend off these pesky invaders and shield your privacy fortress? Fear not! Our Managed Services team have cooked up some handy tips for you.

Tips to Protect Your Privacy When Using Shopping Apps

Unmask the App (Read the Privacy Policy)

It’s tempting to skip the boring privacy policy and dive straight into the app. But take a pause, grab a cuppa, and peruse that document. Look for tell-tale words like ‘collect’ and ‘your data.’ This might just save you from a data heartbreak down the line.

Turn Off the Taps (Disable Unnecessary Sharing Features)

Turn off any data-sharing features you don’t need, like location services. Both your phone settings and app settings are treasure troves of control switches that let you limit data sharing. Take control!

Kick Out the Couch Potatoes (Remove Unused Apps)

If you don’t use an app regularly, bid it goodbye. Even dormant apps can be sneaky data collectors. Why risk it?

Do Your Homework (Research Before Downloading)

Before jumping on the latest app bandwagon, take a detour to research town. Look up the app and search for security and data collection terms. Forewarned is forearmed!

Old School Shopping (Use Websites Instead)

Curbing data-hungry shopping apps is as simple as using a website. Most legit companies have an official site offering the same products. So, why not shop smart?

Armour Up!

Our phones are practically extensions of ourselves these days, so their security should be top-notch. Not sure where to start? No worries, give us a ring at our Brisbane or Mackay office, and our IT Support team will help beef up your mobile device. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

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