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Tags: apps | data | insurance | privacy
OPINION

Is Your App Selling Your Data to Insurance Companies?

apps on a cellphone
(Dreamstime)

Jodi Pierce By Monday, 17 June 2024 02:35 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Smartphones are a big part of our lives now. We use them for everything: getting directions, checking social media, tracking our workouts, and shopping. But did you know some apps are collecting your data and selling it to insurance companies? This can affect your privacy and even how much you pay for insurance.

How Apps Collect Your Data

Every time you use an app, it gathers information about you. This can be basic stuff like your name and email or more personal details like your location, browsing history, and health data. Fitness apps track your steps and heart rate. Navigation apps know where you go. Shopping apps keep an eye on what you buy.

Most people agree to this data collection without thinking much about it. They click "Agree" on the privacy policies without reading them. Hidden in these long documents are often clauses that let companies share or sell your data to others, including insurance companies.

Why Insurance Companies Want Your Data

Insurance companies use data to figure out how risky you are. The more they know about you, the better they can predict this and set your premiums. Before, they used basic info like your age, gender, medical history, and credit score. Now, with data from apps, they can get much more detailed.

For example, a health insurance company might look at your fitness tracker data to see if you exercise regularly. A car insurance company might check your navigation app to see how safely you drive. This helps them set your premiums more accurately, but it might mean higher costs for some people.

The Problems With Selling Your Data

Selling your app data to insurance companies has some big problems. First, there's the issue of consent. Most people don't really understand what they're agreeing to when they accept the privacy policies. These documents are long and complicated.

Using personal data to set insurance premiums can also be unfair. People who can't afford a gym membership or who have to drive a lot for work might get higher premiums through no fault of their own. There's also a risk that bad or misunderstood data could lead to unfair premium increases.

Another issue is data security. Once your data is sold, it can be shared further or even hacked. We've seen lots of data breaches where personal information gets exposed.

How to Protect Your Privacy

Here are some easy ways to protect your privacy:

Read Privacy Policies: Try to read at least the key parts of privacy policies to see how your data will be used.

Control App Permissions: Check your phone's settings to see what data each app can access. Turn off permissions that aren't needed.

Choose Privacy-Focused Apps: Look for apps that don't collect much data and have clear privacy policies.

Review App Settings Regularly: Every so often, check the settings of your apps to make sure they aren't collecting more data than necessary.

Stay Informed: Keep up with news about data privacy to make better choices about the apps you use.

Conclusion

Apps make life easier, but they often collect and sell your data. When insurance companies buy this data, it can affect your privacy and how much you pay for insurance. By taking steps to protect your information, you can enjoy using your smartphone without giving up your privacy. Remember, your data is valuable — treat it that way.

Jodi Pierce is an MBA graduate from North Greenville University. She serves as a Director of Media Buying at PC Matic, a cybersecurity solutions provider. Ms. Pierce drives growth with innovative marketing strategies. Passionate about education and philanthropy, Jodi inspires through leadership and commitment to excellence, bolstering the cause of safeguarding digital landscapes. Read more of her reports - here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


JodiPierce
Smartphones are a big part of our lives now. We use them for everything: getting directions, checking social media, tracking our workouts, and shopping. But did you know some apps are collecting your data and selling it to insurance companies?
apps, data, insurance, privacy
623
2024-35-17
Monday, 17 June 2024 02:35 PM
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