Many apps collect all sorts of data for reasons that seem to be beyond the scope of the application. There are many reasons why but the usual is that the developer is overreaching or perhaps they are selling the data to another service. We are constantly bombarded by nefarious internet miscreants who try to entice us into doing this.
RadarNow! collects some data, for sure, but the data we collect is absolutely necessary for the operation of the application. If you are concerned with the permissions RadarNow! asks, please see our article that discussed these permissions.
Data we collect
In order for the NWS Alert system to function, we have to know what county you are currently in. We don’t need to know where in that county you are though. In order to figure this out, we monitor your location inside RadarNow! and transmit that location to one of our servers when the distance changes by about 10 miles.
The location we send to our server is degraded at that point to three decimals of latitude or longitude and the only thing to tie the location to the device is a thing called the Google Cloud Messaging ID (GCMID). Only Google knows anything about this code. We don’t. We purposely keep the GCMID separate from all other data, so that it is impossible for anyone to reconstruct your location or travels from our data. So even if we were hacked by the CIA, they would get nothing but a useless bunch of numbers.
The server returns the county you are in but does not save the location data itself nor use it for any other purpose. There is a record of transaction in our web log but these are purged regularly so there is never more than about six weeks of data. The log data would be virtually impossible to actually connect to a person as we don’t know who you are or anything identifiable when we do the lookup for your county.
You can turn off location tracking in RadarNow! by turning off NWS Alerts in the advanced options inside of RadarNow!. Of course, by doing this, you will no longer receive alerts. There’s a cost to everything after all.
Email address (Google account)
RadarNow! uses an encrypted version of your Google account to keep a record of premium upgrades in our system. We do this solely for the purpose of support, in case there is a problem on your end showing premium on a particular device.
To encrypt your Google account, RadarNow!, on your device, creates what’s called an MD5 Cypher of your account. This takes a human readable account (your email) and scrambles it into a 32 character meaningless, yet unique string. We cannot convert this MD5 Cypher back into your Google account. Nobody can, well, maybe the NSA or CIA, but not us. This cypher is an excellent way of tracking a premium upgrade but a lousy way of tracking a person. If you are a free user, we do not record your MD5 Cypher. Only premium users have this data retained.
You can keep us from retaining this MD5 Cypher of your Google account by not upgrading to premium.
We do not know or retain, track or otherwise collect your name, payment information, address, hair color, weight, religious preference, imagery or anything else to do with you. That’s it. Just the degraded location and encrypted Google account.
Some of the permissions Google asks for are quite misleading. For instance, since we store cached data (such as map images) on your device to help conserve bandwidth and speed the operation of RadarNow!, Google says we have access to your pictures. We do not have access to your pictures. We have access to a reserved area on your device for the sole means of storing data used only in RadarNow!. I wish Google would be more clear about that.