What Did You Just Agree To?
By Kyle Corum, Principal, CPA, CFE
Fraud is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment.
When I came across this article: https://khn.org/news/a-wake-up-call-on-data-collecting-smart-beds-and-sleep-apps/, it got me thinking about how many people out there may be in this situation. Does anyone really read the privacy agreements that app makers and software developers throw in our faces? They are written in legalese and are so long that we do not even give them five seconds of thought. So, depending on the data the app is collecting, you may want to pause before clicking past that next agreement.
In the article above, it highlighted the data collection of Sleep Number mattresses. Technology has hit the bedroom, and our mattresses can now tell us how we sleep. But what data points are being collected for the app to tell us how we sleep, such as breathing and movement? What information would breathing and movement in the bedroom tell a company that makes pharmaceuticals. Could these data points be used against you in court? The rules are fuzzy at best.
A Company spokesman says they do not share data with outside parties, but the privacy statement says differently. I am not saying that these app makers are committing fraud or misrepresenting the truth, but they are skirting the fine line by concealing a material fact. Are these app makers inducing you to unknowingly act to your own detriment? They are concealing their actions in a document that is hard to understand. Do you believe the spokesman or the privacy agreement? I think the written word is more in-line with what is going on.
Be careful what you agree to. And just not on mattresses, but anything that collects and shares personal data, because you may not control who else receives it.
Kyle Corum Partner, CPA, CFE
Kyle Corum is a Partner with BRC and is the leader of the Firm’s Advisory Services practice, which includes a variety of different types of engagements including: Cybersecurity Due diligence for mergers and acquisitions Fraud and Forensic Investigations Agreed upon procedures Internal control reviews and analysis Outsource CFO and Controller duties Litigation support Shareholder […]