Convenience, at the Price of Your Privacy

Apr 14, 2019 | News, Privacy

When you signed up for your first free email address, you most likely gave your full name, your phone number, your birthdate and more. Facebook profiles include even more detailed information about you: what music you like, what films and books you cherish, your hobbies and interests, your job history, where you were born and where you live, your education and relationship status. And if you have an Alexa or Google Home Assistant, your home has become a new, and endlessly rich, source of information about your daily life and habits.

Technology touches everything we do these days, and at its heart is a devil’s bargain: sacrifice your personal information for convenience. Sound dramatic? Perhaps, but we’re increasingly handing over more and more personal data – information that at one time was considered private – with little thought to the consequences of using so-called “free” apps and services.

But let’s face it – just like there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as convenience without cost. When you think about it, we have paid a steep price for things that are “free.”

So the question that needs to be asked is not what information the apps capture – but what do the app publishers DO with what they capture. What commitments do they have to their customers? Where do they draw the line when it comes to protecting the information they accumulate? It’s one thing for an app developer to retain and extract insights from data – this is how they improve the app and learn how customers are using it. But what happens with that data when there’s something massive to gain from sharing or selling that data? Can you truly trust the app publisher to guard your privacy?

In 2018, a survey of adults 18-45 revealed that while 90% of respondents said they were very concerned about the security of their personal data, 65% admitted that they did not read the terms and conditions of the apps they download and use. With mobile payment apps, the information you provide is even more sensitive and valuable: your financial information, the people you pay, what you’re paying for, etc.

Beyond encryption, what is your mobile payment app doing to keep your transactions – who you’re paying, how much, and for what – private? And do you really know how your personal information is being used?

At Mezu, we want to make it easy for you to know and understand how we use your personal information. Mezu’s privacy policy explicitly states that we do not permit third party online advertising networks, social media companies, and other third party services that we partner with to collect information about your use of our website or app. And we don’t share your information with third parties for marketing purposes, either. We also don’t make any aspect of your profile public or searchable.

Because Mezu was created to be not only secure, but actually Private with a capital P. You don’t need to share contact information to Give or Get money, and we don’t believe in posting your transactions to a social feed, either. What you do with your money is your business – it always has been, and that shouldn’t change in order for you to enjoy the convenience of mobile payments.

We’ve seen that there are limits to what people will give up for the sake of convenience. It just makes sense that your personal contact information, and information about your payments and expenses, would be among the most personal transactions you conduct using technology, and should be protected at all costs.

When it comes to privacy and technology, having “nothing to hide” isn’t really the point – the point is that individuals should be in control of what personal information is shared, with whom, and when. We think of Mezu as the intersection of privacy and convenience, meaning you don’t have to give up one to get the other. We think you’ll agree that reassurance is priceless.

The Mezu program is sponsored by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, to which Mezu (NA), Inc. (NMLS ID No. 1738907) is a service provider.


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