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Hinfo App Privacy vs. Other Popular Apps

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Hinfo App Store Listing on iPhone 12

Hinfo is the 21st century guest digital compendium, which is the digital upgrade from traditional printed compendiums, that maintains the same level of privacy for each of your guests.

This means you do not need to compromise all of your guest’s privacy, while offering new innovations and services for both your guests and management to benefit from.

In December 2020, Apple launched a new ‘App Privacy’ section which "helps users understand an app’s privacy practices before they download the app on any Apple platform."

This means that every single new app and app update published through the Apple App Store for any platform (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch or TV), will no longer be accepted unless this ‘App Privacy’ section is completed beforehand.

By adding this section to the App Store, it helps to easily clarify the privacy contents of each individual app and what details may be required to use all of its features before you download the app and realizing this is the case.

The best comparison to make for this new feature is that it’s a mobile app, privacy equivalent to nutrition labels found on all food packets at your local supermarket.

Instead of looking at the contents of sugar, salt, fibre, fat, sodium etc., it is rather looking at details such as your current location, usage, personal information, health and fitness data, financial details, user generated content, search history, identifiers etc. that could be tracked and followed by you individually.

Apple ‘App Privacy’ Labels Format

All details displayed for each app are in up to 3 separate categories where relevant.

Data Used to Track You: These data types are used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies.

Data Linked to You: This includes data that may be collected and linked to your accounts, devices, or overall identity.

Data Not Linked to You: These types of data may be collected but are not linked to your identity.

When you want to download an app as a user or invest in a digital solution like Hinfo with no privacy issues for your guests, you want only the 3rd section ‘Data Not Linked to You’ to appear for the app on the Apple App Store. This will also guarantee the highest number of people to download any given app.

Hinfo ‘App Privacy’ Labels

If you have read all the way through to this stage, you would now know that any data that is collected or tracked in any way possible is not good and is highly unethical when not asking for your permission.

Here is our ‘App Privacy’ label that is visible for Hinfo on the Apple App Store.

Hinfo iOS App Privacy Section on Apple App Store

As you can see, we only require the ‘Data Not Linked to You’ section to explain the privacy aspects of our service, because Hinfo does not collect or track any details about each of your guests individually.

Let’s breakdown each of the 4 fields of information we require but do not link to each guest’s identity. Please also keep in mind that all app privacy labels are for the core functionality of each app.

Location: We require your precise location to be able to search for the exact property you are staying at via the ‘Current Location’ button on the first screen after opening the app for the first time.

This is all done locally on your guests own devices with their GPS coordinates never leaving their own device to find your property on our service. We determine the country your guest is staying in, then download a batch of GPS coordinates to then compare on the guests’ device.

Usage Data: Traditional printed in-room compendiums do not offer the opportunity to inform properties on how their compendium details are being received by their guests.

To get an equal balance of this whilst protecting your guests’ privacy, we record anonymous guest usage that only records the time, platform and section/feature for each for analytical purposes.

We also record the version of iOS or Android each guest uses when using the app for internal development purposes only.

This does not include the Ask Reception Guest Messaging conversations between each guest individually and reception, as this is an optional service available to guests if your property chooses to support it.

Browsing History: This is also identical to usage data immediately above for the same analytics reasons. We keep record of the number of times the Local Weather, TV Guide or website links for local places, events and services are viewed at each property.

Diagnostics: We collect anonymous app functionality details if anyone where to experience any issues with the app, such as crash logs etc. This allows us to address issues much quicker to provide a smoother experience for all guests using the service.

Hinfo vs. Other Popular Apps

We could spend all day speculating over what exactly each component of the ‘App Privacy’ section is referring to for each app on the App Store, but it doesn’t hurt to briefly summarize a few popular apps to explain what they are likely referring too.

Facebook

Facebook iOS App Privacy Section on Apple App Store

Since this section has appeared on the App Store, the main Facebook app became an immediate focus and even trended on social media, for how ridiculously long this section is for their app.

Facebook says they use your contact information, user and device identifiers and other data types to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies and almost every other type of data from location to search history to even your financial information is linked to your identity.

Twitter

Twitter iOS App Privacy Section on Apple App Store

Twitter uses even more details to track you across other apps and websites compared to Facebook, but less overall when it comes to data linked to your identity for third-party advertising, analytics, product personalization etc.

Netflix

Netflix iOS App Privacy Section on Apple App Store

Netflix does not use any of your sensitive data to track you across the internet, but they do use data linked to your profile, purely for analytics, product personalization and app functionality. This is likely referring to the Netflix recommendation algorithm and syncing preferences to your account to be applied on any other platform. There is no data used for third-party advertising etc.

Uber

Uber iOS App Privacy Section on Apple App Store

Uber is almost as bad as social media networks with the number of details they use to track you across other apps and websites and linked to you. Uber uses your contact information, purchase history, user and device identifiers and usage data to track you and also collect many forms of data that is linked to your account for advertising/marketing, analytics, product personalization and app functionality.

Common Themes with Other Apps

When comparing our Hinfo app to these other apps, there were two common themes across all of them that are opposite to ours.

No Non-Tracking Data Collected: As explained earlier, there are 3 different categories of data each app collects. Our Hinfo app only fits into the ‘Data Not Linked to You’ category, whereas this section is not used by any of the apps listed above. This means that every single piece of data that they collect about you is tracked and linked to your identity.

All Analytics Are Linked to Your Profile: In addition to the above, this means all analytical information these other apps collect about your usage is all linked to your identity, whereas our Hinfo service anonymises all analytical data collected about your guest usage. We record the analytics on a per property basis, but these are not linked to device identifier etc.

For any app on your smartphone that has any combination of banner ads, full screen ads and video ads, it very likely requires data to be tracked and linked to you directly, to help serve more relevant ads to you to increase engagement.

We strongly believe in the commonly known phrase "If you are not paying for the product, you are the product!".

Whilst your guests access your property details at no additional cost, it is our cost-effective subscription model for each property to join on an annual or monthly basis, is what eliminates the need for us to monetize and track your guest’s personal information.

To conclude, every feature we have built into the Hinfo service was deliberately developed to protect your guests’ privacy and we will be continuing this approach with all future developments of our service. It is with this core fundamental to our business, is why our ‘App Privacy’ feature on the Apple App Store is only the bare minimum and causes no privacy issues to your guests.

To get started with our privacy-focused guest digital compendium, please send us an enquiry via the form below.

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