The main reason why apps are so full of spyware

I have sent this via email to AAA already 2 years ago, hoping they will read it, but I was completely ignored unfortunately! :frowning: So writing it here now

It is today’s big topic – so many apps are being identified as spyware which is misusing our location data, trying to steal contacts and various kind of other mischief. Google and Apple desperately try to fight it by doing more thorough checks and all kinds of analysis, but it’s seems to be a futile effort.

But did anybody actually think why is the situation like this? I believe I know what is the reason for this trend. I am not sure who’s idea it was, but I think the root of the problem lays in the very low prices of the mobile apps! I wonder why is it like that because the development of mobile apps is no longer cheap as it might have been in the very early days of java games on the feature phones. It is now very much comparable with big PC games which take big teams working months or years and the game is then sold for 30-100USD. So tell me why are mobile apps either free or costing just a few dollars?! I really think this is very wrong, because the value in these games or apps is much higher but the competition is so high that this pushes the dev teams to look for other shady ways to pay their employees and not go bankrupt! Besides bombarding user with ads there is another obvious way to earn something even if my app is free: to try to get some user data and sell that on the grey market!

Bottom line for me is that whoever started this silly trend of free or super cheap apps made a big mistake. For one people don’t really appreciate and care about things which are free and second – the surveilance capitalism is growing stronger and stronger in this environment.
What do you think?


Couldn’t agree more! Everything costs - I’m more comfortable spending dollars than time (ads) or other less-tangible assets (location data).


Ron talks about this all the time, about not valuing the cost of development.

I want to think that the Apple App Store started this. I remember having to pay over $10 for license keys to apps on my Palm. I wonder how much the 30% cut to Apple/Google and/or the ease of spyware library integration influences the pricing decisions. Quite frankly, I think it’s too easy to make quick money by selling data and gameifying.


This is a trend started by Apple I think. Then Android doubled down in order to compete.

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Indeed, that’s where the saying “If you did not pay for it, you’re the product.” emerged from, I think.


Yes, the Apple Store was where it started. Before that, I used to buy apps for my Palm devices on several app stores, and apps with “professional” features were often in the £20-£35 range.

We paid developers what it cost them to produce and maintain the apps, and they didn’t have to fill them with ads or allow data brokers to sweep up our info to make the money.

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