Manage data privacy with app permissions

Every single day we feed our devices with our personal information through data inputs, from keyboards to GPS sensors. Whether personal data pertains to locations we visit, people we chat with, or sounds that our devices’ microphones pick up, privacy and security of such data is a concern and a right for all, especially children. And this is because data processed by various apps may potentially be intercepted by unethical app developers, oppressive regimes, or malicious cybercriminals who tend to prove extremely creative in the ways they use data for harm and exploitation.

Understandably, some apps require personal data to function due to their nature, such as a spreadsheet app containing your very personal weight management information and diet plan. However, many users don’t realize that they can manage where each app gets data from. For example, a word processing app used only for typing in notes does not need, for most users, access to the device’s location, nor its photo album, nor its microphone. It is therefore prudent for users to manage individual app permissions so that each app is allowed access to the bare minimum of data. You wouldn’t want a children’s game to be allowed to track your device’s location, would you?

Depending on the operating system, managing privacy through app permissions can usually be addressed under settings where the user may control which sources of personal data each app is permitted to access. Such sources can be:

  • Microphone
  • Location (GPS)
  • Contacts
  • Camera
  • Photos/Videos
  • Calendar
  • Health tracking (activity trackers, heart-rate monitors)
  • File storage
  • Bluetooth
  • Reminders
  • Phone/SMS
  • Barometer

Considering international efforts for fostering awareness regarding online privacy and cybersecurity, we encourage you to invest some time into getting familiar with your device’s privacy settings and app permissions in order to minimize risk, safeguard your personal data, and protect children who are most vulnerable online.