Is it the end of the line for apps requiring personal information? 

Over the last few years there has been an increase in the number of apps that require personal information from users. There have been numerous reasons put forward as to why this kind of practise exists, and these range from needing the information for functionality to simple, honest marketing requirements.

But things are changing, and with more people actually refusing to download apps that require personal information, app creators are having to accept the fact that they will have to stop asking for it in the first place.

One of the biggest offenders in this arena is the common casino app. These are well known for asking users to input their personal data before they play the card games or other gambling simulations. There is arguably no reason why you would have to supply that information though.

It does not improve the functionality of a game of poker if you allow the app to know your age. If an app took your email address and used it to send you tips and advice on poker, this would start to make sense. But instead, many of these apps simply send you marketing emails.

Some casino games offer a premium version where you input your details and then are able to download a picture that you can use as a screensaver, for example. This is what could be viewed as a legitimate reason for entering personal details.

This situation will not change any time soon. But what is happening is that app developers are becoming more open about why they need permissions. For example, an app may need to have your email so it can update personal information so that other users can see you are worthy of connecting with.

Many social media apps require personal information for this very valid reason. If they did not have your personal information, they couldn’t connect you with friends, colleagues or other people of interest.

The more app technology and sophistication improves, the more likely it is that app developers will start to be more honest about why they need your personal information. As it stands, there are still many apps out there that ask for this information purely for marketing purposes. Developers are now being more honest about this because users want them to be.

Another big reason why permissions for information are sought is so that the app can display ads. This is not a particularly welcome part of app usage, and people are justifiably angry about this. However, more and more app developers are shunning this practise, by offering premium versions of apps that do not require permissions and do not display ads.

If you download an app and it asks for your personal information it may be worthwhile looking into the app more deeply, to see why they need the info. The best apps explain why the information is required, and they should make it very clear. If they don’t you may even consider deleting the app, and saving yourself the trouble.

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