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Restaurant Apps Collect Your Data For Big Money

restaurant apps

It is currently unclear just who has access to the data that restaurant apps are collecting.

Restaurant apps are making it easy to get a table at your favorite restaurant by taking your data. In fact, some restaurant apps share your data with advertisers.

Moreover, popular restaurant apps like Nowait and Yelp are collecting huge databases containing information about diners. For instance, Nowait collects phone numbers and Table’s Ready uses phone numbers as IDs.

“The phone number is the unique identifier of a person to see how often they visited, all this information that restaurants really value,” Table’s Ready CEO Mike Errecart reveals. Consequently, apps and companies can track you through your phone number.

Restaurant Apps Can Track You With Your Phone Number

“The cellphone number is quickly becoming the new Social Security number in the digital age,” American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst Jay Stanley notes. For this reason, hackers or authorities could track with you with your phone number.

Data thieves could learn where you like to eat lunch and where you get your hair cut with your phone number. In particular, Supercuts is now asking customers for their email address and cell phone number.

Furthermore, some apps can use the GPS in your phone to pinpoint your location. As a result, somebody could follow you by tracking where your app is being used.


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Restaurant Apps Are Big Business

Restaurant apps are collecting your data because it is worth big money. Particularly, Yelp bought Nowait for $40 million last year, CNET reports. Plus, Priceline purchased Open Table for $2.6 billion in 2014.

Yelp bought Nowait because it wants access to data regarding the app’s hundreds of thousands of customers. Additionally, Priceline wants access to data from all the eateries that accept Open Table.

Specifically, Nowait and Open Table automatically notify you when a table is available at your favorite restaurant. Notwithstanding, the data the apps collect is so valuable that restaurants compile it even when there are open tables.

Who Sees The Data Collected By Restaurant Apps?

It is unclear who has access to the data that restaurant apps are collecting. On the other hand, some of that data is easy for corporations, criminals, and government agencies to acquire.

For example, Table’s Ready will share phone numbers with restaurant employees. Restaurant apps also store phone numbers in servers that the bad guys can hack.

Restaurant app creators did not say if they sell phone numbers. However, there are information brokers that buy and sell data such as phone numbers, Motherboard explains. In addition, some restaurant apps store diners’ names and phone numbers.

Ultimately, biting the bullet and waiting in line for a table at your favorite restaurant could be a good way to protect your privacy. In the final analysis, restaurant app users are unfortunately trading their privacy for a better place in line.

You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Apps Track You Even After You Uninstall Them

What do you think about restaurant apps that can track you and gather your data? Let us know in the comments below.

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