It was a typical morning, I opened up Facebook and what do I see? Well, a newly gone viral article talking about Facebook's Messenger App and how appalling the Terms of Service are for it. So, since it was posted on Huntington Post, I decided it must be worth reading and gave it a shot. I admit, as I read through it the first time I was a bit taken back. I mean, I had been using the app for quite a while now and had no idea I had agreed to those permissions. The permissions are the things that are listed right before an app is installed on my device (in this case my Android phone). Usually, I just glanced at them and then scrolled and accepted so the app I wanted would download as soon as possible. Never had I thought to read most permissions as I am of the mindset "You either embrace technology as it develops over time or you don't."
Then, after reading through the list a second time, I thought to myself "This can't be the only app that has these permissions." I mean, Google practically collects anything about you they can from the moment you open a web browser or buy a Google enabled device. Now, I am no technology genius, but I went right to the place I figured I could further investigate at least on a surface level, the apps in my phone. Below is a screenshot of the permissions for my Facebook Messenger App:
Now let's just take a look at a few apps I also have installed on my smartphone.
Notice a trend? Many of these have just as many and even more permissions to access your information and personal technology and manipulate it as they please. Across all of these you will notice that the ability to read/send text messages, record audio, take pictures/video, access your contacts, access your call log are all pretty common.
So, what's my point? Do I think we need to go to war with all of these people? Nope. Sorry, but I just can't support it. This is, unfortunately, the negative side of our growing technology. At this point, you can do your best to try and influence these companies to change their ways, but it's unlikely. That doesn't mean you should just shut up about it and deal with it. If you really want to make change, they you need to not use it. That means ditch all of your smartphones, computers, iPads and all "smart" things. Also, you might want to go back to only dealing in cash since everything you do with a debit card is tracked and sold by your bank. Also, don't even think about using those loyalty cards that get you discounts at stores and track your spending habits and sell your personal information to third-parties (where do you think all that spam in your e-mail comes from?) As for methods of communication, you probably just want to stick with talking in person, since your phone provider is probably recording calls or at the least our government.
I bet you think I'm crazy? I'm not. I'm just saying that I agree these permissions are a bit much, but I want you all to take a step back and look at the millions of pieces of technology you interact with on a daily basis. Each one is doing (to a certain degree) exactly what Facebook Messenger wants to. Like it or not, this is technology. Take it or leave it.
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