AppReview, Discussion

The groupme App

This app does long-term, lifetime tracking.

I started at Common Sense Media to get the details on GroupMe.

The review is favorable, with a caution for parents to have ongoing conversations with kids about appropriate content.

Price: Free

Pricing structure: Free (with optional in-app purchases)

Release date: March 9, 2016

Category: Social Networking

Publisher: Skype Communications S.a.r.l

A caution isn’t enough for me. Notice the vendor, Skype. Skype now has a version this application for children, a mobile version for anyone, and Skype for Business.

1. The Wiki background on Skype shows various company dealings over the years. What is really curious, as in I’d never let my kid use it, is that last entry, “United States, Transparency and PRISM 2013”. Skype issues a confirmation that it responds to government requests to spy.

2. On 10 November 2014, Skype scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s secure messaging scorecard.

3. Skype basically has cradle-to-grave-tracking where a child uses it, then adopts the adult version, then uses it for business and at work.  Using Skype products provides that company with cradle-to-grave tracking of you and your family.  Microsoft, who bought Skype, has a picture of your life. And they can potentially give it or sell it to anyone else, or hand it over to the Military Industrial Complex at any time apparently.  At a minimum, the targeted ads will follow you your whole life.

Skype lists a third product on the App Store, Skype WiFi. It’s discontinued this month.

In the end, my ultimate opinion of this company, basically Microsoft, comes with the second to last question about the credits.  In exchange for all of their users personal data, you would think Microsoft would just automatically refund unused Skype credits.  No.

Let me guess, it’s complicated.

Or maybe you left the refund feature out of the computer program you built?

Why is that?

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