Smartphones: Essential or too Invasive?

Everywhere you go you will see people on their smartphones, from iPhones to Androids to Windows phones. Go on popular sites like Imgur or Buzzfeed, and you’ll see all sorts of funny pictures and memes about how technology is taking over our lives, how when people are ‘hanging out’ with friends they’re really just staring at their phone. Most people will argue that their smartphone is essential to their everyday life, but if that’s true then what did you do 6 years ago, when smartphones barely existed? Even beyond technology taking up everyone’s attention, apps you have on your phone may be taking more information about you than you realize.

I recently saw an article about how Facebook’s mobile messenger app for smartphones recently got a major update, along with several new required permissions. For Android users, every time you update an app, the app may ask to be granted access to more parts of your phone, such as your pictures or account information. Generally, everyone just accepts all new permissions, because you can’t update the app otherwise. According to this article, which I ironically found through Facebook, the Facebook messenger app now has access to people’s cameras, microphones, text messages, and emails. This means that Facebook can see what your phone sees by remotely turning on your camera and looking through. Facebook can hear what your phone hears by turning on the microphone. And Facebook can see all your text messages and emails, and even send messages on your behalf, without you knowing. Now, Facebook probably wouldn’t send anything or take a picture without you knowing, but they can still see everything you might not want them to see.
Facebook, smartphones, technology, and a whole lot of other potential privacy invaders are very useful to public relations professionals, but at what cost does using them on-the-go come to you? Right now there doesn’t seem to be any way besides totally disconnecting, which many people can’t do, so I believe that more people have to become aware of this issue and start protesting this invasion of million’s of people’s privacy.
Here’s a link to the full article: http://thebull.cbslocal.com/2014/08/07/facebook-crosses-the-line-with-new-facebook-messenger-app/
What do you think about smartphone use? We’d love to hear from you!

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