I used to use and love the Moves app. Soon after the developers announced their sale to Facebook, I removed the app from my iPhone and then deleted my account at their website. I’ve had enough.
Moves performed a valuable service for me by tracking all my steps and bicycling while I kept my iPhone in my pocket. It also calculated the amount of calories burned. On the other hand, it also tracked my location and could later report to me the path of my travels. Unfortunately, it sent all that data to its own servers and saved it in its own databases.
Originally, the Moves terms of service assured its users that it wouldn’t share the information, but then along came their sale to Facebook. I understand that Facebook already knows a great deal about my preferences, but that’s because I actively use their services and understand the trade-off. After the sale, Moves changed their TOS saying that they “may” share it with their corporate partners, i.e. Facebook.
I thought to myself, why can’t Moves just sell me an app to install on my Mac where only I get to monitor that data? I would pay for that. In fact, I did pay for the Moves app, but I would have paid more to install a desktop application that churned all that data for me and only me. There’s no reason for it even go to the Moves database except to build up their value for a sale to FB or Google.
Thinking about it, I probably have quite a few iOS apps that don’t need to send data to someone else’s database. We need personal clouds. Are you listening Silicon Valley? There’s really no need for us to share so much data in a centralized cloud.
If there’s one thing that Apple is definitely doing right, it’s not passively aggregating its customers’ data to build its brand. It’s selling actual products that we have to buy to do that.