Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Gift Cards and Privacy

So, over Christmas break I was shown this website called MyFreeApps where I download free apps and get points, once I get enough points I can cash them in for different types of gift cards.  I only ever get iTunes ones though.  The only catch is that you have to actually open up the app and use it for awhile, usually only about 30 seconds, and to make sure you do this you have to install something on your device to make sure you are actually using the apps for the required amount of time.  I read though what they tell you it does when you install it, and didn't really find that they monitored or stored any info other than how long I was using the apps I downloaded from them.

I am now getting ready to write my paper on mobile devices and all the privacy issues involved in that and have been thinking about what other information they may be taking from me, and also whether or not I care if they are taking it.  I think I have come to the consensus that I don't really care that much.  There can't be that much information they are taking from my iPad and I am being compensated (the free iTunes gift cards).  Also, I am convinced that in order to be able to install software on an iPad (not sure what it is, but it wasn't actually an app) they had to have Apple sign off on it because they typically highly regulate what can and cannot be installed on their hardware, especially mobile stuff, then they can't be taking too much.

lastly, if anyone is interested it is available for iOS and Android I believe
Here is the link:


  1. My friend was just talking about an App like this last night that I had never heard of. I am usually a little bit skeptical of downloading said apps because of privacy issues. Although when I think about it, I'm not sure that I care too entirely much about some of the data that could be collected from my mobile device. At the same time I find it hard for me to convince myself that invasion of privacy is acceptable on any level.

  2. I think I've also heard about this app, but I'm somewhat surprised to hear that you actually are being compensated. I feel like sometimes those things are too good to be true, or end up causing more trouble than they are worth. However, with what you've brought up it doesn't sound too bad, and I may have to look into it.

    You do bring up a good point though. I think most people just want to be able to have privacy, and talk about the issue because they desire that right. But when it comes down to it if an app is entertaining, or they want to use social media, like Facebook, they aren't going to really worry too much about settings and being monitored for ads, etc. I think it only becomes an issue when online apps or other sources are asking for particulars or information that is unnecessary and could have negative consequences more notable than these.

  3. I have heard of this website before, and it sounds very interesting. To any college we do love our free stuff, although, if getting the free stuff includes someone being able to see other information on your computer this may turn me off from the website. Like you said earlier about your computer, you do not care, but it just makes me wonder what they are looking at. Although, I know that I would still get on this website because of the word every person wants to hear, free.

  4. This sounds like an interesting site. I used to participate in a site called utalkback (now called e-rewards) where I answered surveys to earn points, which I turned into gamestop gift cards.

    This seems to be a bit easier and less time consuming, though the tradeoff is, as has been discussed, your information is out there.

    Honestly, I'm still a bit wary of singing up for new accounts at certain sites and giving them my email, just because I don't know what kind of spam I could end up getting. I'm not super paranoid or anything, but my Dad raised me to be very cautious about giving out information online (which I am grateful for).

    However, like Jake said, a lot of different apps like these have to be approved by Apple or Google and whoever, so they should be trustworthy enough. It is very interesting to think about how each app I've downloaded from Google play has all of these permissions it tells me it will use, and how I rarely read them. Who knows what information we are giving out?

  5. Privacy isn't necessarily a concern for me, I don't don't really store any private information on my phone except contact info. The issue for me is trust like Melanie mentioned. Typically offers like that are too good to be true, or they do it in exchange to be able to spam you, or maybe it's a perk for them. Like maybe they get money every time someone installs the app. Also, it typically takes an absurd amount of "points" before you get any real prizes. It comes down to really if the reward is worth any potential privacy, virus or spam threats.

  6. It is really good that you read exactly what the app and program is taking and monitoring from your account because once "fishy" acceptance screens pop up on my accounts for apps or games, I decline and just move on to something else. Privacy is a really big issue these days for mobile devices and apps taking advantage of it.

  7. I too find it difficult to care about personal privacy issues sometimes, though I probably should. If I used that same app program, I probably wouldn't take many preventative measures to ensure they weren't gathering my info. In all honesty though, this could probably be dangerous. If some company exploited the apathy of its users, who knows what could happen.

  8. I'd like to think that companies are fully honest and actually disclose what they do when it comes to data collection, but to be truthful, I'm pretty skeptical. This particular program might not practice questionable methods, but there has to be some programs that are gathering info about us. I mean every time I look in the margins of a webpage, there's something advertising a product/page that I've recently viewed. I'm OK with stuff like that, as long as these data collectors are doing what they're saying they're doing.