Do You Need a Privacy App?

There is no silver bullet...

As many of my articles have stressed, there is no silver bullet to protect your personal data and therefore your identity. There is, however, a new app that might be helpful. It also might or might not be an indication of things to come. For many years research has been telling us that consumers are concerned about their privacy but often do not take action to protect it. Perhaps the Jumbo app is a first step in the direction of making it easier to protect personal data.

At the moment the Jumbo app only works on iPhones and the Facebook, Google, Alexa and Twitter platforms. An Android version is expected soon as are clean-up options for Instagram and Tinder. Currently the app can clean out your Twitter history and regularly delete Google search history as well as delete recorded Alexa conversations. It can’t work automatically with Facebook so it guides the user through Facebook’s complex privacy options. A real plus is that this takes place on the phone, so no data is uploaded to Jumbo. The user does not even create an account. “We never collect, store or process data you manage through Jumbo, therefore we cannot and will never sell any of your data. In fact, we don’t even know who you are.” (Jumbo privacy policy) If you are wondering how they will ever make any money that way, a paid app with more functionality is expected in time.

In the interest of transparency: I haven’t used the app. I make only limited and very specific use of Twitter, Facebook and Alexa. I’m careful about my settings and I see no reason to remove my history. I do make broad use of Google, but I haven’t found anything Jumbo can do that I haven’t already done. Still, I’m going to keep an open mind about using Jumbo as it builds out its functionality.

The app has a 4.8 rating on the Apple store. That’s good. Analytics firm Statista found the average app rating to be 3.47 in June 2018. I read quite a few ratings and found the app developer frequently responding to questions, suggestions or even to compliments. In my experience it’s unusual for the company that developed the app to pay that much attention to the reviews. I take that as a good sign. Scroll down the questions on the ProductHunt site to find one from Ryan Hoover to see a post from the founder of Jumbo that describes his vision for the app.

One person absolutely nailed the reason for the popularity of the app. In a review entitled “So simple,” one reviewer said, “Jumbo did in seconds what would take me days to do—that is if I even knew what to do.”

I think that sums up the app, at least at this early stage in its development. It is potentially very useful to the non-technical user and there appear to be only a couple of minor downsides. The app has to be open to work and the user does have to manually request data cleanup. It does tie up the phone while processing is ongoing, so the manual request is really a positive. Longer term, the platforms might decide to block it. Hopefully they will leave it alone and avoid the negative publicity. You might wish to check it out on the App Store and watch for the Android version.


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