This week FaceApp has again made the rounds and a lot of people have been posting the old version of their own. Shortly after, people started to realise the app is developed by a Russian company and privacy concerns started to pop up. There’s been some rumours that the app uploads your complete camera roll in the background, of which I haven’t seen any evidence. Another concern was Apple’s API and how it allows access to one single photo.
The details of what people worry about aren’t important. Much more important is the fact that users do worry about the things in the first place. This might sound a little bit naive and I might agree, but it hasn’t always been like this.
It’s a sad fact that in recent years, companies have invaded privacy, abused user data and disrespected users as if it has to be part of a business. If done years ago it would have likely led to the death of a business. Today it has mostly become mainstream, not to say “accepted” practice. Because this is the way we roll today.
The problem: We want to build more apps and use more digital products, but by employing unkind and ethically questionable tactics to be more successful, how much will we gain? By going down this road and accepting it as the new status quo, our own products and technologies are destroying the trust in the things we build and the industry we work in.
Just after I finished this post, I saw the below tweet, which basically makes the same point:
Dropbox’s direction and attitude have been clear for a while now:— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) 17 July 2019
They don’t see this as MY computer.
It’s THEIR computer, and they’re doing whatever they need to boost whatever initiative or growth targets they’re trying to maximize this month.
I’m just along for the ride.