I’m a stickler for privacy, so the recent furor over Pinch Media‘s analytics is really interesting to me. The debate (in a nutshell) is whether information gathered by companies like Pinch Media through iPhone applications, for the purpose of developer marketing, is spyware. I thought I’d take a second to toss in my own 2 cents on this issue.
So, for my take on the subject, read on after the jump!
As a little background, I’m one of those psychos who insists on approving every cookie in my browser manually. I really like control over my personal info. It’s not that I’m that worried about giving away my personal info, I do it all the time. My thing is that I want to very specifically choose who I give that information to.
That’s why I’m not a big fan of data collection without explicit notification. When I install something that is going to collect my personal data, including use patterns, location, hardware specs, or anything else, I want the software to ask me:
“Excuse me, Mr. Tassin. Would it be acceptable if we collected your personal information?”
When a software company, website, etc. that I like and trusts asks me this, I always say “Yes.” I WANT them to be successful, and if my personal data will help I’m happy to provide it. On the other hand, if a piece of software I know very little about, a website I’m not likely to visit again, or another unknown entity wants this information, I always say “No.”
For me, the debate isn’t about whether collecting information is a good idea, whether the parties involved will use it wisely, or even what information is collected. For me, the debate is all about “Did You Ask Me First?”
If the answer is “Yes,” then I have no problem with it. Keep up the good work!
If the answer is “No,” then we have a problem since at that point you really ARE spying on me, no matter how ethically you use the data you’ve collected.
NOTE: Ilium Software does not automatically collect any user data at this time. We encourage software registration and ask some optional questions, but we use no automated collection tools. We appreciate the value of automated data collection and may consider doing so in the future, but as Product Manager I would only do so in combination with a clear opt-in policy.