Purdue students create app that scans user agreements of tech companies

Data pix.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Computer science students at Purdue University are changing the game when it comes to making technology more friendly.

They took home first place this weekend in a Hackathon after creating an app that will scan user agreements.

“We noticed that with the 'FaceApp' challenge everyone was like ‘oh yeah let's see how I look when I'm old’. But then we heard this rumor that your folder is going to a Russian server,” said Purdue University, Junior, Brigitte Gurrola.

That’s what made them create ‘Birds Aren’t Real’, a Google Chrome extension that scans user agreements.

Once you download the app, it goes to your chrome extension browser, said Gurrola.

You would then visit a website where you’d like to download an app to your computer.

“Just click the button and, for now, it tells you if it’s tracking and selling your name and your e-mail,” said Junior, Jon Huber.

As millenials, they all agree they don’t read the terms and conditions, so they don’t know where their data is going.

“I feel like we just wanted to make things more transparent for the users. We feel that because these companies anyway have privacy policies we might as well make it easier for users to understand,” said Junior, Aarushi Banerjee.

They had loftier goals at first, but ran into some issues.

“In the beginning when we saw the problems with each of the privacy policies we wanted to create an app that blocks companies from collecting our data,” said Junior, Jieun Lee.

Which essentially prevents businesses from making money. Instead, they chose to tell the user what’s being collected.

Right now, they’re hoping to continue to make improvements within the app so they can publish it then move to mobile devices.

“Once we have a really simple version we’re hoping to publish it and then hopefully we were also thinking of a phone app in that way if people download apps from the app store or google play that can also be tracked for data as well,” said Banerjee.

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