Playing Games with Your Privacy


Common sense dictates that we should read every user agreement pertaining to software before loading it onto our devices.  Yesterday, while on my way out to lunch, I decided to download a free Android game to my phone.  As usual, I began reading the agreement.  Halfway through the document, I had to step aside and let others walk by because I was captivated by the most outrageous user agreement I have ever come across.  Here is one of the four sections:

“THIRD-PARTY AD SERVING TECHNOLOGY.  This Application may incorporate third-party dynamic advertisement serving technology which enables advertising to be temporarily uploaded into the Application on your mobile device and replaced while you are online.  When you use this Application, we or third parties operating the advertisement serving technology may use information such as age and gender as well as information logged from your device using cookies, web beacons and other technologies to ensure that appropriate advertising is presented within the Application and to calculate the number of unique and repeat views of advertising.  Logged data may include IP address, unique device I.D., device make and model, advertisement(s) served, in game location, length of time an advertisement was visible, size of the advertisement, advertisement response (if any), and angle of view.  Other than the company serving the advertisements, the foregoing data may be used and disclosed to Firecracker Software LLC.”

By the way, the “in game location” feature activates your GPS if it is not already running.  Now, I understand the value of marketing analytics – being able to design your product or services to meet consumer needs –  but I can not justify allowing such an invasion of my privacy for access to an electronic scrabble game.

Based on what this game provider is asking, I do not think their product is free.  I strongly disagree.


  I am a strong believer in individual accountability and collective action.  When not reading, working or blogging, I’m supporting my favorite charities: Teen Living Programs where I am a volunteer and Executive Board member and YWCA Chicago where I am an Associate Board Member. I am passionate about causes related to supporting youth, women and families. Particularly in the areas of education, social services and housing. I can be reached at if you would like to know more about my charities or the blog.


Categories: Culture, Jobs

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2 replies

  1. Wow, I should really read user agreements more.

    • That’s for sure! And I left out the weird part saying they are not responsible for damages to systems of reductions in employee productivity or revenue. So I’m thinking there’s a history of people becoming addicted to their game and forgetting about work. Or worse yet, their software is so janky that it may crash systems and bring business to a grinding halt.

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