It is not anymore about free or paid services. Even the paid services are profiling users and collecting as much information as possible in the name of personalized services. There are hundreds of things we need to take care if we want to better control our Digital Privacy. What if we tell you that you may need to take care of One Thing Less.
Internet is a free world. Well, most of the time. Can it be? No, right? Nothing comes free. Sooner or later we all have to pay the price.
The problem is that, just like air, you can only feel Digital Privacy, you can’t see it even with your open eyes. As we have mentioned in our article “Security is everyone’s responsibility, Privacy is yours“, a quote from Lisa Ho, Campus Privacy Officer at Berkeley University of California
Privacy is like oxygen: It’s invisible and easy to ignore…until it’s taken away.
Online Privacy is always a concern since very long time now. Things about Digital Privacy are not improving with the speed of change in technological advancements. An average population of the world doesn’t bother about personalized or targeted advertising, but below are the key issues about Digital Privacy:
Lack of Transparency
What companies do not tell you about is what they do with that information. For example, the recent disclosure from Facebook reveals it gave 61 companies access to widely blocked user data.
Lack of Trust
It takes a very long time for any company to build the trust. We will always have some or other issues with services or products from big brands including IT giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. But, we still trust them.
Even if one of my close friends tells me anything negative about these companies, I may not believe him/her. But recent incidents of Facebook selling data and Google App Developers reading our emails is bringing that trust down drastically.
We definitely need to ask this question ourselves: Even though, these are big names of the industry, can we or should we trust them.
Are we responsible
Governments are coming up with laws around Digital Privacy, still, it is individual’s responsibility to protect it.
These laws don’t say that companies can’t collect the data. It says that companies must disclose what, how and why they are collecting the information. What they will do with this collected information. These companies should also provide mechanism of requesting your data at any time and you can also ask for permanent deletion.
So, what companies have done now?
So what if, one day you want to know what information a company holds about you. Here comes One Thing Less.
What is One Thing Less
It’s a mobile application. A good initiative and totally free of cost by One.Thing.Less AG. It is Switzerland based company. Their mobile apps are available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store
We appreciate the effort they have put it to get this far. Taking it to the next level and adding more and more companies to their database in no big deal. In fact, they allow you suggest the companies of your choice, if it is not already existing in their database.
What exactly One Thing Less mobile application does?
They allow you to know how your personal data is used and ask to change what you don’t like. As quoted on their website:
Do you know what really happens to your personal information when making a purchase, signing up for newsletters, or logging onto a free wireless connection?
There is little transparency, and who has the time to find out anyway?
One Thing Less makes it easier for you to find out about your data and how it used by any specific company. Companies currently they support can be found here.
Below (left-side) screenshots is example of questions they will ask upon request. Right side screenshot is answer received from the company. Each tick-mark says that company collects the data and cross-mark says company does not collect the data for a given data point.
You can also look at the detailed response for each data point. Here is the example for a question on Personal Data collection:
What is missing
The only missing feature, we could figure out so far is that it works for one of your email ids only. Email Id is the key here, because that’s how any company will identify you to process your request.
What if, we have multiple email ids and multiple profiles for different companies. We couldn’t find anything. For now, the email id you use to register for One Thing Less will be the email id used to send your request to company of your choice. You can make any number of requests as you want though.
We have already reached out to One Thing Less support team and await their response, hoping that they will add multiple emails support very soon. We will update this article as soon as we hear from them.
Disclaimer: As per best of our knowledge, One Thing Less doesn’t have any affiliate program. Even if they do, we are not associated with them in any form or shape. Anyways, this is a free tool. We couldn’t resist talking about it, because we thought that, just like us, you might also find this tool interesting and useful.
This article was first published on DigitalPrivacyWise.