A woman watches a video by Egyptian influencer Haneen Hossam on the video-sharing app TikTok in Cairo, Egypt, July 28, 2020 – Copyright AFP Jewel SAMAD
Technology experts from VPNOverview have warned about the dangers of BeReal as it turns out that the application can track your location without your consent. BeReal is a photo sharing app for iOS and Android. Every day at a random time that varies from country to country, the app sends a push notification – ⚠️ Time to BeReal. ⚠️ — and users have two minutes to take their photos. The camera takes a selfie and a rear-facing photo at the same time. The app is popular in terms of downloads.
Demand for the app has increased by 1619 percent over the past year, with millions of users around the world taking snapshots of their daily lives within two minutes. The alarm can be triggered at any moment and encourages users to “be real” and take a snapshot from both the front and rear cameras at the same time.
The result of this is that more non-personally identifiable information is shared. In the workplace, it also suggests the risk of potentially exposing sensitive information.
As an example of the business risks, one user – @dalanpopo – went viral on TikTok and received over 700,000 views when she posted a video from the perspective of an intern at work, posting sensitive business information such as her BeReal or Snapchat accounts.
On the general topic of personal data, narrates Mirza, privacy expert at VPNOverview Digital Journal: “With interest in photo app BeReal currently on the rise, driven by its revolutionary brand value of capturing life in the moment as ‘authentic’, ‘uncurated’ and essentially anti-Instagram as possible, are the dangers of over-sharing personal information big becomes clear.”
Mirza adds: “With an app like BeReal, there are several privacy risks that require attention and careful consideration. Due to the nature of BeReal and the fact that it pushes users to post content once a day, there will no doubt be privacy issues and even future court cases where strict laws like the GDPR could be violated.”
Regarding the risks, Mirza identifies them as follows: “When it comes to privacy risks related to BeReal, one of the biggest risks is that your location can be shared without your consent. The app comes with a geo-location feature by default, which means that if you share a ‘BeReal’ publicly on the Discovery feed, strangers can clearly see your location.”
Privacy issues are further compromised, as Mirza explains: “The app allows you to pinpoint your friends on a map precisely relative to your position. We strongly recommend not sharing your location data. To do this, deny the platform permission when you open the application for the first time. If you have already granted permission, change those permissions through your phone system settings.”
Coming back to business, Mirza advises, “We strongly discourage not taking photos in the workplace as it could result in a serious violation. Images containing sensitive information, including phone numbers, are a serious violation.”