Voice Box: Privacy policies

Interviews by Myisha Kinberg, Staff Writer
Photos by Morgan Filsinger, Photographer


How do you feel when an app asks for your personal information to use or download it? And how do you feel about people you don’t know being able to access your personal information online?


Daniel Harsh

Daniel Harsh, 19 Tipton, undecided


“It’s a trade off we take between the freedoms that we have and the amount of service we get from the app. Things like Google require a lot of information, but we get so many free benefits. I’m willing to give up my privacy to get these free services that I might have had to pay for if I had used other companies.”






Adam Saunders

Adam Saunders, 25, Ypsilanti, photography


“I think it’s a good thing because it makes people more aware that they are allowing their information to be out in public. I don’t read privacy policies, but sometimes I do research on why an application would need or how they would use certain things such as my location. Anyone can access a phone number, a full name, and possibly a home address just by looking in a phone book whether we want that information to be out there or not it is. And it’s been public for a long time. It’s a more social culture now and instead of trying to be closed off from it, I think we should just be accepting.”




Edgar Vargas-Castillo

Edgar Vargas-Castillo, 19, Canton, automotive services


“It depends on what an app is trying to access, if it’s my photos or microphone I don’t mind so much. I does make me feel weird to think about strangers looking at my personal information, but I think chances of strangers being interested in my stuff isn’t very big.”







Marc Stephens

Marc Stephens, 47, Detroit, videography


“I don’t understand why I should give them my information. Sometimes I give out half-truths like the wrong age or a different last name since you have to enter something. When I post on Facebook I only post things that I want to share, but also won’t hurt me or get me in trouble. I wouldn’t be worried about people I know looking at my information because a lot of it has been public for quite sometime.”





Kelsey May

Kelsey May, 14 Canton, journalism


“I usually allow apps to access my pictures, but not my location. It scares me to think that random people can view my personal information. When I see other people using location and putting out a lot of information about themselves on social media, it makes me think twice about what I’m posting. Why should I be holding information back and others are so upfront about theirs? It’s actually worrisome to me to think about what this world has come to and how easy it is to find someone and find out so much information about them with just a few clicks. There is no clear line as to how much exposed personal information is too much, and I think we need to set boundaries.”





Ryan Green

Ryan Green, 17, Ypsilanti, undecided


“If I want to use an app I’m not going to delete it because it asks to access my photos or location. I do question why so many apps need my information and what it’s used for, but honestly I don’t care if apps access it.”






Anders Smith

Anders Smith, 16, Ann Arbor, video production


“If I download an app to use its services I don’t feel like I should be required to give my information. Having that requirement almost feels like a double payment. If apps have my information they often use it to advertise things to me by sending me emails and potentially phone calls. I keep my account private on Instagram so that I can provide the information I want to, but only people I allow to follow me can see it. I like when you can use privacy settings because I can control everything more easily.





Ben Sussman

Ben Sussman, 19, Brighton, mathematics


“It depends of what kind of information the app is asking for, but generally I try to make my information as public as possible so people can find me easily.”







Christopher Dale

Christopher Dale, 39, South Lyon, math and science


“I don’t mind letting apps access my personal information because I don’t feel like I have anything to hide. Even if I was bothered, I’m not sure I would know what to do since I still want to be on social media and that’s pretty hard to do without giving out information.”







Colin Gibson

Colin Gibson, 19, Howell, automotive services


“I hit okay without reading privacy policies and let them have access when I download apps. It can be concerning to think that apps could say they just need to access my photos, but have other stuff hidden in the privacy policy knowing that most people don’t read the policies. If they wind up having stuff hidden, I think that is a bad business practice.”





Katie McCullough

Katie McCullogh, 19, Ann Arbor, business


“I find it irritating and time consuming to have to allow access to all the different things apps feel they need to access when I download them. When I use social media I usually try to keep all my information private.”






Geocaching: high-tech treasure hunting

Geocaching: high-tech treasure hunting



Geo-caching treasure


Hidden under a large pile of rocks, hollow logs, in the crook of a tree or any other place you can think of, more than 200 “treasures” are waiting to be discovered in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas. And the modern but harmless pirates do not use a map but a global positioning system (GPS) to find this XXI century hunting treasure, in an activity called geocaching. With the excitement and adventurous spirit of children, fans of this new hobby, outfitted with backpacks, are determined to meet the challenge. “Geocaching is a game of hide and seek where finding a treasure is the primary goal,” explains Marc Stephens, 41, a Washtenaw Community College student who takes audio visual classes. “Geocachers hide containers with different sizes somewhere in the world, and then uses a GPS receiver to locate that spot, based on those coordinates and the description. “Players use the Web site, the most popular is geocaching.com, to find the coordinates of geocaches in a given area, and download the coordinates to the GPS receivers. I usually go to Google Earth to see how the terrain looks like before I start my search.” Stephens said. In 16 months of geocaching, he has found 52 “treasures” in Ann Arbor and other cities he has visited, like Boston and Detroit. “Each geocache listed in the website has details about the size of the containers, difficulty of the terrain on the site, and an overrating difficulty to find it,” Stephens said. “Many descriptions give clues and hints that prove very helpful in finding the geocache. “There are hundreds of thousands of geocaches waiting to be found. For example, there are more than 200 hundred geocaches in a 10 kilometer radius of downtown Ann Arbor, some maybe within walking distances, while others maybe further out.”
Geo-caching using a GPS


Mary Mann, 32, an audio visual student, learned about geocaching from a friend, and is planning to take her family geocaching. “I borrow a GPS at this point, but I hope to buy mine soon,” she said. “I have a 2 ½-year-old daughter. We take walks anyway, so it will be fun find something in the woods, just follow the directions and navigate through the wilderness. “It’s so much fun! You can practice it in different cities, in different areas, and save your searches in a map. It’s great to interact with nature, have family picnics or hides. I think it’s awesome. For a child, it can be a real treasure because some containers have little toys or trinkets. It’s something to search for.” But you cannot keep the “treasures,” Mann said. “After you find the container, you have to sign the log and leave them there. Sometimes, if you like one item from the geocache you can exchange it, just put one similar object there. It’s a community and figuring out a puzzle.” Stephens said that the GPS coordinates locate you around 10 meters from the hiding spot and affirmed that some are easy to find while some are too difficult. “The containers are in different sizes, from a canister to large boxes,” he said. “And they can be anyplace you can think of. There is a variety of objects placed in the geocaches; it depends on the size of the box. Some of them are themed, and only contain objects related to the theme.” Stephens advises all new geocachers to have at least a map and a compass, as well as a GPS device. “It’s also a good idea to mark in the GPS where your car is located, to find an easier way back,” he said. “Bring some layers of clothing and be well hydrated, and don’t forget fresh batteries!” An example of how popular the geocaching craze is: In a recent seven-day period, there were 954,086 active geocaches around the world, with 482,320 new logs written by 67,172 account holders, according to http://www.geocaching.com.