Will Popl steal your data? (update)


Popl is a device/app for NFC equipped Android or iOS devices. With it, you can share your social media profiles and more with another person’s smartphone with a single tap. It’s sort of like sharing your business card, but in a modern, social-networking sort of way. The receiver doesn’t need to be running an app or special software to receive your information.

Popl uses NFC (so both phones must have it). Los Angeles, Jason Alvarez-Cohen and Nick Eischens founded it.


Update: 15 October – Popl has listened and responded

The Popl privacy policy started well enough, “We take privacy very seriously, and we promise to safeguard yours zealously.”

Well the privacy policy was a shambles and we communicated with Jason Alvarez-Cohen, Popl CEO and co-founder. He responded and we have now received the new privacy policy. It is not perfect, but it is far clearer about how your data is used. Jason writes

We take privacy seriously and strive to be transparent with our Popl community and customers. 

We want to make it clear that we do not sell or rent any customer data for advertising or marketing purposes, do not capture social media passwords (just the username is needed to connect to your profile), and customers have complete control over what online and social profiles they share via Popl and what information is included. 

An email and password are required to set up a Popl account, but we do not use that information for anything at this point other than to verify your account and to provide important information including product and app updates and changes to our privacy policy or terms of use. 

User activity in the Popl app itself is captured, but only used in aggregate to make improvements to the app and Popl product experience. We do not have access to activity in your linked online and social accounts. 

We are currently updating our privacy policy to make it more clear as to what information we collect, why we collect it, what we use it for, and how Popl customers can opt out. The new policy will comply with ACCC guidelines and others including GDPR and CCPA. It will be live in the next couple of weeks here and we will notify Popl customers accordingly.

We apologize for any confusion our existing privacy policy has caused for Australian consumers. We promise to do better. 

So we are happy to remove references to the old policy.

We still object to data-harvesting and hope Polp will offer a paid, ad-free version.

Advertising Partners. We may work with third party advertising partners to show you ads that we think may interest you.

GadgetGuy’s take – Popl is just another free data-harvesting device

Privacy is the greatest threat in the 21st century. Ethical companies now realise that its important to place user privacy ahead of monetary gain.

Or if the product is free then make it clear that the product is you.

We said that we would have a second look if the privacy policy was fixed. By and large, Popl is off our thinly disguised data harvesting app radar.