Sydney, Oct 23: The TEMU online marketplace has surged in popularity, garnering attention in cybersecurity and data privacy discussions.
Dr. Arathi Arakala, a Mathematics lecturer at RMIT in Melbourne, sheds light on TEMU’s data collection practices.
While the platform requires essential user data such as addresses, phone numbers, and payment details, it may also collect additional information from user profiles, including photos, interests, shopping history, social network profiles, and government-issued identification.
Consumers need to be vigilant about the data they intentionally share and the information silently gathered by the app.
Dr. Arakala emphasizes the importance of considering whether users want their data to be used in locations and by entities not explicitly authorized.
This raises concerns about privacy trade-offs for the sake of affordable purchases on TEMU.
To enhance data security when using such apps, Dr. Arakala suggests actions like disabling location sharing, creating a separate email address for online shopping, avoiding social media account logins, and regularly deleting browsing history and cookies.
Professor Asha Rao from the School of Science addresses TEMU’s rise in the context of increasing household inflation.
While TEMU offers affordability, concerns arise regarding its alignment with unsustainable practices, including fast fashion, cheap goods, and data harvesting.
The app’s lack of transparency regarding data policies prompts questions about data collection, storage, and retention.
Similar to permissions granted when downloading apps, many users automatically accept all permissions, which Professor Rao likens to cookie settings.
Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), websites must request users’ cookie preferences, offering the choice to accept only essential performance cookies while rejecting marketing and data gathering cookies.
Professor Rao also highlights the ethical aspects of selling low-priced goods.
Manufacturers may pay employees poorly, and such inexpensive products may have built-in obsolescence, contributing to existing waste issues.
These concerns invite a broader discussion about the balance between affordability, sustainability, and data privacy in the era of online marketplaces like TEMU.
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