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Onavo Count for iPhone: A Misleading App?

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The folks at 9to5Mac recently posted up an article talking about the Onavo Count app, which lists down the apps that use data the most. Here's an excerpt:

With most cellular carriers moving away from the beloved unlimited data plans of yore, many smartphone users now find themselves trying to cut back on data usage while still doing all of the things they want or need to get done on their phones. Unfortunately, that’s sometimes harder than it sounds. Some apps may seem simple enough, but could actually be downloading massive amounts of data in the background. Users could also be using an app much more than they realize, resulting in overages, fees, and a strong feeling of contempt for carriers.

Here's a promotional video of the app

Onavo Count for iPhone (via onavo)

However, some guy who reviewed this app thinks it's misleading and hazardous:

Misleading, Deceptive, Hazardous

by Blake Miller

Using this app means that ALL data (read: every 1 and 0) is routed through Onavo's servers and here's why that's bad:

1. Data rates will be reduced because you are now depending on Onavo's servers before your data can reach its destination. You are adding a man-in-the-middle.

2. Onavo's servers are operated by Onavo. Every photo, every text, every search, every username, every password, every payment, every email…everything will be sent through Onavo's servers. Are you comfortable with that? This is a requisite for using the app and a violation of HIPPA and FERPA.

3. It will potentially break your email, hotspot, and/or VPN connections.

4. It requires you to install a new profile to your iPhone. Most users will not be savvy to know what this is and it is a very opaque and implicit process.

5. Because the app is FREE, this means the developer will need to recoup the cost by most likely SELLING your data and information. This violates every rule in the iOS terms of service!!! If you are not paying for the app, then you are not the customer, you are the PRODUCT.

6. NOWHERE before installing this app are you made aware of what they are doing. It is all hidden away in FINE PRINT.

This app is the WRONG solution for breaking down your usage statistics. The correct way is to lobby Apple for more granular statistics, NOT sacrifice your security to a 3rd party system.

1-star because 0-star isn't an option. This app needs to be banned from the App Store immediately.

What do you think?

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