Would you download a fast food store’s mobile app, hand over your personal information, reveal your credit card details, and give access to your location data, simply to receive a free burrito?
Me too. But how are we really paying for it? And what happens to all of that data?
This article will let you know what you should consider from a privacy perspective before signing up to an app or loyalty program in return for a small incentive.
Many retailers have their own mobile app, which often incorporates an ordering and payment function, and integrates with a loyalty program offering a free product on sign up or ongoing discounts.
It is common for an app, at the sign up stage, to require a user to provide their name, phone number, email address, home address, and debit or credit card details. In addition, access to location data is often requested to allow users to order from the nearest store, or alert them to store locations.
We have reviewed the privacy policies of some popular apps and loyalty programs, and have summarised some interesting points in relation to how they collect and use data.
In addition to the information which a user inputs during sign up, it is common for the following data to be collected:
It is also common for companies to collect personal information from third parties. When a company allows users to sign up using their Facebook or other social media account, there are often policies allowing information to be collected from or shared with the social media company.
When individual pieces of information are combined, particularly with information obtained from third parties, companies are able to develop a comprehensive profile of a user.
However, information is typically collected for much broader purposes including:
The data collected by companies through apps and loyalty programs is valuable. It allows them to develop a highly personalised understanding of their customers and their preferences, and allows them to offer targeted products, ‘add-ons’ to orders and promotions which assist in increasing revenue.
Privacy Awareness Week is an appropriate time to consider what information you are handing over to companies in return for a small incentive or convenience, and how that information is being used.
Why not have a look at some of the apps on your phone?
If you are no longer using them, think about deleting your account and deleting the app.
Apps and loyalty programs lure us in with freebies and discounts, and offer great convenience. In exchange, users offer up swathes of data and valuable information. While that burrito might not cost any money, the adage remains true: there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Gadens is a supporter of Privacy Awareness Week 2020.
Dudley Kneller, Partner
Gabe Abfalter, Associate