The Norman Transcript


January 27, 2013

Stop! Don’t download that stupid app!

NORMAN — A recent discussion on Facebook reminded me of two words: caveat emptor, a Latin phrase often translated as, “Let the buyer beware.” In this case, I would have changed the phrase to “Let the downloader beware.”

The discussion centered on a notice that is popping up on many Facebook users’ pages that says “I want to add your birthday.” The notice masquerades as a request from a Facebook friend to click a link and install an “app” that would add your birthday to their calendar, and vice versa.

However, this seemingly-innocent app does a lot more than remind you of birthdays; it also harvests “virtually all of your personal information, plus a list of all your friends, plus your chats and posts on any of its related pages and use(s) that information or sell(s) that information to a company or companies that may not have your best interests at heart,” (quote from

There lies the problem with a great many apps for Facebook, as well as desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet computers, especially those that are allegedly “free.” Not only do they provide you with a cute game or handy doodad, they spy on you and everyone else they touch, gathering as much information as possible, to be sold, re-sold and then sold again by the millions to Internet-based marketing firms. That “free” app is making money for somebody and you are paying the price.

Have you ever wondered why you get so much spam email? It all depends on who you give your email address to, and how it is circulated around the Internet. There’s money to be made in acquiring and selling personal information, such as email addresses. Mindlessly downloading and installing every free app that comes along is a sure-fire way to get on every marketer’s list.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Chamber Banquet During annual banquet, Chamber of Commerce promotes moving Norman forward

    Amidst the backdrop of music, dancing, dinner and fellowship, business leader Mike Fowler announced that the time for a quality-of-life initiative in Norman has come. As incoming Norman Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Fowler and ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women leaders announced

    The Norman Chamber announced the nominees for the 2014 Women’s Leadership Award, which honors female leaders who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.  Past recipients of this honor, formerly known as the ATHENA ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Norman use tax takes a hit while Moore sales tax flounders

    Norman use tax took a hit this month while Moore’s sales tax floundered for the first time since sales picked up in the post-tornado recovery period. For the city of Norman, however, sales tax collections are a bright spot on the revenue ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Nextep moves back to Dillard Building, but this time with much larger presence

    In 1997, entrepreneur Brian Fayak was just getting Nextep Inc., a professional employer service, started. Fayak had been working out of his sister’s house in west Norman and was delighted when the opportunity came to rent an executive ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spotlight

    Chiropractic award Megan Borne, a chiropractic assistant at Sparks Clinic of Chiropractic in Norman, was recently awarded the title of C.A. counselor with the Pinnacle Chiropractic Management Group. She will assist other chiropractic ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Primrose presents Leadership class grads

    On Tuesday, the Norman Chamber of Commerce graduated both Leadership Norman and Tomorrow’s Leaders. Over the past several months, participants attended interactive sessions covering a variety of topics including communication, education, ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Business and restaurant survey online now

    The city of Norman is seeking input from its residents about retail shopping and restaurant opportunities that they would like to see locate to Norman. On Thursday, the city published a link to an online retail and restaurant survey on ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Norman Nation

    In 1964, when my father was a University of Oklahoma student, he and my mother were in desperation car shopping mode because their vehicle had just died. As the story has been told for nearly 50 years, the Ford dealership had not opened ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spring cleaning: Time to change passwords again

    Are you in the habit of regularly changing the passwords for your online accounts? You should be — changing passwords regularly is a required part of every wise Internet user’s safety routine....

    April 13, 2014

  • Regional partnerships build prosperity

    Job creators shop for sites, regional marketing professionals told Norman’s Economic Development Advisory Board on Thursday. That makes selling the central Oklahoma region with its diversity of site options and amenities a business savvy ...

    April 6, 2014