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What to consider before accepting the terms and conditions of an application

The privacy policies refer to the data processing that the platforms will carry out (Fernando Calzada)
The privacy policies refer to the data processing that the platforms will carry out (Fernando Calzada)

Every time an application is installed on the cell phone, you should look at the terms and conditions of use: What information are we providing? For what purpose will it be used? What kind of permissions are we granting to that platform?

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All this refers to the privacy policy that the company has. Logic would say that you should take the time to analyze this situation, but in practice this does not usually happen for two main reasons:

1) The uses and customs They have become a common practice to download platforms to the mobile without looking at the “fine print” present in their privacy policy. HThere is a mixture of disinterest in investigating the use/privacy policies and the same amount of ignorance Regarding what implication it may have to provide information about the team and/or the practices that are carried out online.

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There is also a kind of resignation in many users who repeat as a motto “It doesn’t matter, let them get the information they want.” They believe that, in some way, it is a fair or necessary transaction to be able to use an app that will allow them to connect with other users, edit photos or any other service that is useful to them. It is seen as a kind of “win win”.

2) The other point to keep in mind is that even though some users may find it important or necessary to know the privacy policies of a platform, You don’t always have the time to digest all that information. According to a report by Visual Capitalist, in which 21 platforms were evaluated, Reading the 15,260 words of Microsoft’s terms and conditions would take just over an hour. As for Tik Tok or Spotify, the time needed would be 35:48 minutes and 31:24 minutes, respectively.

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What to do about this situation? The first measure is to get companies to use plainer language in their terms and conditions and to prepare more synthetic versions so that they can be read and understood by ordinary people.. This is something for which different sectors have been fighting and in recent times some platforms have made changes in this regard but there is still much to be done.

As a second point, it is necessary for the population to be trained to better understand this type of regulation and the scope and impact that they can have in relation to their information. digital literacy is the keyword here.

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Cover of the book
Cover of the book “I accept the Conditions: uses and abuses of digital technologies”, written by Cristóbal Cobo

Cristóbal Cobo in his book “I accept the Conditions: uses and abuses of digital technologies”highlights the importance of citizens developing skills linked to data or network literacy, among other skills. This will allow them to better understand the systems they use, develop a critical analysis and thus be able to cultivate greater freedom when choosing what to consume and how to do it.

What are the terms and conditions of an application

They are the legal clauses that determine the way in which the information can be used and the contents of a web page or an application can be accessed. They establish what the owner of the page or application will do with the personal data and with the information that is generated when the applications or services are used.

What to keep in mind when analyzing an application

consulted by TechMarkup, Juan Gustavo Corvalán, lawyer and director of the Laboratory of Innovation and Artificial Intelligence, of the University of Buenos Aires, says that the platforms must offer a minimum protection to their users. For this, it is necessary to verify that the following conditions are met:

1. Understandable language

2. Privacy policy in a single tab

3. That the information is offered as soon as you enter the page or app

4. Consider a minimum time for reading.

5. Explain what the data that is compiled consists of

6. Provides information on automated processing.

7. An explanation as to whether and how cookies or pixels are used. Also explanation about whether a profile or scoring is being prepared, the latter refers to a numerical expression based on an analysis to assess the solvency of an individual.

8. Offer the possibility to choose the actions with which you agree or not, and the purpose for which the personal data will be transmitted

He clarifies that the optimal thing would be to add well-organized information to all of the above, segmented into titles for better reading comprehension. He also believes it is necessary to provide concise information, on a page with inclusive technology and to detail the purpose with which third parties could receive the information that is transmitted.

Cybersecurity researchers stress the importance of reading between the lines when evaluating an app's terms and conditions (Photo: Zacharie Scheurer/dpa)
Cybersecurity researchers stress the importance of reading between the lines when evaluating an app’s terms and conditions (Photo: Zacharie Scheurer/dpa)

When the terms and conditions are accepted, consent is given for the company to store, process, analyze or use the data for different purposes, as noted on the Argentina.gob.ar site, where it is suggested to look at some of these issues before using a plataform:

1. Identification data: the data of the professional or the company that owns the web page or online store so that users know the person with whom they contract and the person in charge of the web in case of claims.

2. Intellectual and industrial property rights: The owner of the elements that make up the web page must be informed, as well as the type of use licenses given to users.

3. Product or service contractedsteps to follow to contract as well as forms of payment, if applicable.

4. Rules of conduct: In the event that it is necessary to register as a user to use the services, it is necessary to be clear about the specific conditions of use, the rights that are granted to the user and the responsibilities that they will assume if their behavior is not in accordance with the rules of behavior.

5. Guarantees for the userresponsibilities assumed and the applicable legislation, as well as the conflict resolution system.

In turn, from Eset, they share a report that accounts for the different points related to privacy policies that users have to consider.

Cybersecurity researchers stress the importance of reading between the lines when evaluating cybersecurity. It can take time but it is a useful exercise when you realize what it can take to provide so much information.

And they emphasize that every little fact is more important than you think when you pay attention. “A personal and individual data collected may appear as an acceptable piece of exchange to access a service or use a product. What could change an opinion, however, is understanding what information is collected when it is analyzed holistically, ”they highlight in the published article.

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