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Android Privacy IOS Transportation

GasBuddy Has a New Privacy Policy (Spoiler: Not As Customer Friendly) 113

An anonymous reader writes: GasBuddy has been a popular iOS and Android app for the last 5 years used to find the cheapest place to get gas. According to the Google Play store, there are over 10 million installs (in additions to the installs from Apple and Amazon's appstores). Now that they have a large enough number of users, GasBuddy has updated their privacy policy to allow them to collect more information. Some highlights of the privacy policy changes include: only 10 days for new terms to take effect (previously users were given 30 days to review the changes); collection of "signal strength related to Wifi or Bluetooth functionality, temperature, battery level, and similar technical data"; and [a warning that the company] will not honor a web browser's "do not track" setting.
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GasBuddy Has a New Privacy Policy (Spoiler: Not As Customer Friendly)

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  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday July 31, 2015 @08:04PM (#50227567)

    Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

    If I have to spend even 5 minutes looking up gas prices and driving out of my way to go to a cheaper gas station, it's not worth saving 30 cents a gallon on gas. My local Costco regularly has 20 minute lines of drivers waiting to buy cheaper gas (though it's possible that one family member is shopping and the other is waiting for gas). If I see a line at my preferred gas station, I'll use the one down the street that I know is 15 cents more expensive.

    Maybe my 11 gallon gas tank just isn't big enough for significant savings, but I really wonder whether these gas price apps are worth it.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Friday July 31, 2015 @08:10PM (#50227587)

      Oblig xkcd https://xkcd.com/951/ [xkcd.com]

      • It was a major milestone in my life when I realized I could make a dollar at work for holding my breath one minute. My first job I would have had to work hard labor for half an hour to get one dollar.
    • by ExXter ( 1361251 )
      Actually it is in more ways than the one shown in the little funny comic of the other poster.

      It is not worthwhile if you only go out of the house to refuel your car for half or quarter of a tank and only do a drive for that. Thats stupid.

      It IS worthwhile once you do travels which you do for other purposes than refueling your car.

      My easiest example is Los Angeles. I checked with GasBuddy and saw that at the end of the 10 mile through the city which I had to drive to get to my surfing beach I could s
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely - I have a 23 gallon tank and I may see a 20 cent difference. Right at this moment I happened to check the app to see the price around me - I was in Blythe, CA where it was 4.39/gal and 5 miles east in Arizona it was 2.79/gal. Ummm yeah, I'm going to drive over the 5 miles.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Since they came out with ethanol added gasoline I have found it more important to get ethanol free fuel than get a cheaper price.

      Have you seen what ethanol does when it sits?

      It separates and trashes lawnmowers/chainsaws/weedeaters/generators and anything that goes any length of time between starts.

      What ive noticed is high traffic areas tend to have ethanol added (near walmart) and everywhere else that actually needs the fuel to bring the traffic has ethanol free fuel.

      • Since they came out with ethanol added gasoline I have found it more important to get ethanol free fuel than get a cheaper price.

        Have you seen what ethanol does when it sits?

        It separates and trashes lawnmowers/chainsaws/weedeaters/generators and anything that goes any length of time between starts.

        What ive noticed is high traffic areas tend to have ethanol added (near walmart) and everywhere else that actually needs the fuel to bring the traffic has ethanol free fuel.

        I know exactly what you mean. I went on vacation with my RV and had to go through Texas. In Texas you can't get real gasoline, only what I call "Mazola". After I got back from Texas, my generator stopped working. It would only run if I used my finger to manually force the idler to idle higher. I replaced spark plugs, replaced fuel filter, drained the old fuel which was not even pure Mazola, but a mix of mostly real gas, with some leftover Mazola, put all new fuel, used about two cans of Sea foam, which als

        • by Anonymous Coward

          E10...not to use it in any sort of small engine

          Or, in a motorcycle. My bike was totaled when Ethanol ate through the rubber hose from the tank and dripped onto the exhaust. The carb on the bike was constantly giving me trouble and required cleaning several times a year until I stopped putting in Ethanol. Then on a trip, I had no choice but to use E10, and about two weeks later the bike was gone. The plastic tank on the next bike I bought warped and leaked from the bad gas here in Washington State, but since I was paranoid after losing the first bike

        • by Anonymous Coward

          LOL at the Mazola. Carbed mitorcycles have the same problem. I have to pay $7 per gallon for gas for my bike. It sucks that the EPA requires that a solvent be added to gas. My 1993 Celica made it through the thirty years of hard driving in Alaska until solvent gas caused a leak that caused a fire. Losing that car was a sad day. That's what I get for driving it to a crappy state.

        • by Aereus ( 1042228 )
          E10 is government mandated in my area as well, but Shell and Citgo premium is still 100% gas... albeit at a 30% markup. I've since found a family-owned Lucas Oil place with 87 octane 100% gas for only 20 cents more per gallon. Considering you get about 10% better fuel economy with it, I consider it about a wash even before considering it's better for your car. Only other place I trust fueling up other than that is Mobil and Shell. I'll randomly trip my check engine light with an oxygen sensor warning if I f
      • Excellent point. For years we've made sure to put BP Ultimate (clear with no alcohol) gas in our lawn mowers so no varnish builds up. It works wonders. Same mower after ten years has never not started.
    • by imidan ( 559239 )

      Maybe my 11 gallon gas tank just isn't big enough for significant savings, but I really wonder whether these gas price apps are worth it.

      Yeah, I have a 12 gallon tank. The other day, when I was about on empty, I went and bought gas. It's the end of the month, so I put in my phone number to claim my Safeway rewards. I got a $0.10 discount per gallon! Wow! That's... about $1.20 that I saved. I don't even know if that was worth the amount of time that it took to type in my phone number (twice, because I

    • It's worth it for trips out-of-town where you don't know where the gas stations even are. Or, at least it's worth it for me.

    • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Friday July 31, 2015 @09:40PM (#50227847)
      Can someone explain the value of collecting data on battery strength, phone temperature, etc. ?

      Seriously, they must be able to monetize that (why else risk alienating customers) but how?

      What is the monetary value in knowing my phone temp?
      • Can someone explain the value of collecting data on battery strength, phone temperature, etc. ? Seriously, they must be able to monetize that (why else risk alienating customers) but how? What is the monetary value in knowing my phone temp?

        I can only guess that they are using the phone temperature, location and the battery strength to estimate the radius of available gas choices that they should show you. Temperature effects the battery life, although it would be easier to snapshot the battery life at regular intervals than guess the temperatures effect on the battery. Location by itself at least established the location around which they should show gas prices, but location over time gives speed and helps them anticipate where to show next,

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday July 31, 2015 @09:59PM (#50227883) Homepage

        Everything about you they can get, all day long, as long as the app is running.

        They'll figure out what they can make money off later. Like, do people buy more gas in the winter or summer.

        This is just greedy assholes maximizing both greedy and asshole. And this why I look at apps as basically ads and analytics in disguise, and why I don't feel compelled to have a smart phone with a data plan.

        You can always not play the damned game.

        Me, I want Android to return the ability to selectively turn off stuff that apps can do. If your app keels over because I won't let it access my contacts, I don't want your fucking app.

        I view most apps as about the same as if a retail store demanded the ability to rifle through my wallet before I came in the store, only in the case of apps it's pretty much all the time.

        No thanks.

        • Me, I want Android to return the ability to selectively turn off stuff that apps can do. If your app keels over because I won't let it access my contacts, I don't want your fucking app.

          If your phone is rooted, you want xprivacy (requires xposed). It lets you selectively control what info apps can access, plus it'll feed fake info to the app which refuses to run if you don't let it view your contacts or location or whatever. Works with Android 4.x, requires the alpha version of xposed for Lollipop.

          • I used to run xprivacy but really it was a gargantuan pain in the arse. The sheer number of options for every app at every update meant spending more time playing with the stupid privacy settings then actually using my phone.

            My comparison AppOps was an awesome tool. Simple and to the point.

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          I'll just add GasBuddy to Greenify's list, and not care.

          Why don't I care? Because I'm already sending my GPS coordinates to GasBuddy when I use it, as part of the app's basic functionality. If it wants to gather up some more stats like nearby Bluebooth and Wifi when I use it, I don't care: They've already got the most personal of my personal data.

        • Me, I want Android to return the ability to selectively turn off stuff that apps can do

          FYI, you can do this in BlackBerry10 OS.

      • Seriously, they must be able to monetize that (why else risk alienating customers) but how?

        Isn't it possible that these features are needed to help the app work better? If your phone is running hot and low on battery maybe it'll update its map less frequently.

    • Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

      I go out of my way to avoid one brand, irrespective of price: their pumps are old and make it too easy for people to install card skimmers. Since avoiding this brand, I haven't had problems with my credit card being cloned. When I bought from this brand (at the gas station closet to my house), credit card fraud was a recurring problem for me.

    • by Lokni ( 531043 )
      I use it to find diesel as that is what my vehicles take and I am not always in my normal area. That being said... I just unloaded the app. Fuck that company. Its one thing if they said they would track if do not track was set. But to say fuck you to your customers and track anyway? FUCK YOU GAS BUDDY!
      • Honestly ... do you really thing do not track means a damned thing? Are you that naive?

        Do not track says "gee Mr Website, will you be nice and not attempt to monetize my traffic". It doesn't mean a damned thing.

        You should pretty much assume that everyone on the internet will track everything about you they can at every chance they can get. You should assume some greedy asshole with an MBA and a tendency to be a sociopath doesn't give a fuck about your desire not to be tracked is making the decision to ob

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

      Here in Canada it's generally more then a few cents. In my neck of the woods gas is $1.16/L(~$4.90/gal), if I travel 30km(~18mi), I can buy it for $0.82(~$3.15/gal). Usually I don't use the app, rather I use their website. But their new policy violates a bunch of federal and provincial privacy laws here in Canada, and since they operate Canadian-centric sites, they're going to have to change their policies on it again.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Here in Canada it's generally more then a few cents. In my neck of the woods gas is $1.16/L(~$4.90/gal), if I travel 30km(~18mi), I can buy it for $0.82(~$3.15/gal).

        So if your car averages around 10L/100km, 60 km round trip is 6L of gas. At 82 cents, that's $4.92 in gas for the trip. Using that gas station saves you 34 cents/L, so to break even would require 14.4L. That doesn't count the added wear, or your time, which would basically mean roughly an hour trip. If you put in 50L, then you'd have saved about

    • by eWarz ( 610883 )
      I can drive 3 miles in one direction and save close to 60 cents per gallon of gas. That's around $12 for a fill-up (20 gallons). depending on how much you drive (I drive quite a bit), it adds up.
    • >Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

      I used it when I had a diesel pickup truck, because it could tell me the nearest petrol station that had diesel.

    • If I have to spend even 5 minutes looking up gas prices and driving out of my way to go to a cheaper gas station, it's not worth saving 30 cents a gallon on gas. [...] Maybe my 11 gallon gas tank just isn't big enough for significant savings, but I really wonder whether these gas price apps are worth it.

      If you get 30 MPG and drive 12000 miles/yr, a 30 cents/gallon savings works out to $120 over a year.

      But it's pretty pointless to find a new station every fill-up or to drive too far out of the way to get

    • by kybred ( 795293 )

      There are probably 12 gas stations between my work and home. I can quickly check GasBuddy and see which one is the lowest and stop there without going out of my way. Sometimes my Costco is 10 cents/gal less that the others (usually just after all the other stations have done an increase), but usually the wait there is only a couple of minutes at the most. After prices have stabilized, Costco is usually within a penny or two of the others.

      The other reason GB is handy is if you are traveling and don't know wh

    • by jwdb ( 526327 )

      Depends on in which part of the country you are. I see a ~ $0.50/gal price difference in stations within 3 miles of home (Southern CA), and there's rarely a line at the cheaper places. It may only save me ~ $6 a tank, but that adds up over time, and the cheaper places are close enough that it's not really out of my way.

    • Is it even worthwhile to use an app like that to save a few cents on gas?

      Not EVERY TIME you need to fill-up, but it's very good for finding which gas stations in your area are consistently inexpensive, which ones play games with pricing (occasionally cheap to bring-in business, then crank-up the prices). And when traveling it absolutely INVALUABLE for avoiding gas-traps that can be $1 per-gallon more than the gas station half a mile ahead...

      If I have to spend even 5 minutes looking up gas prices and drivin

    • It's worth it if you only use it to help you decide where to stop for gas. If you're going out of your way to pay a few cents less per gallon, you're wasting your time.

      I'll use it to see which gas station of my way to work is cheapest. I know I'm stopping for gas anyway, it's just a matter of where. So why not stop at the cheapest one? Again, I'm not going out of my way. Just deciding which of 15 or so gas stations that I will pass by anyway is getting my business.

    • I pass a few gas stations on my way home every day. I'll scan the site to see which ones have the best price
    • Maybe my 11 gallon gas tank just isn't big enough for significant savings,

      Why such a huge petrol tank? The one in my car (well, the wife's car ; I try to avoid driving when at all possible, which is almost always) is about 5 gallons (a bit over 50 litres ; I'm not sure what the conversion factor is for our gallons and I know it's different for American gallons).

      Such a huge fuel tank suggests that you've not made any substantial attempts at fuel economy previously. (My tank will carry me around 400 miles de

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        Maybe my 11 gallon gas tank just isn't big enough for significant savings,

        Why such a huge petrol tank? The one in my car (well, the wife's car ; I try to avoid driving when at all possible, which is almost always) is about 5 gallons (a bit over 50 litres ; I'm not sure what the conversion factor is for our gallons and I know it's different for American gallons).

        50 liters is 13.2 US Gallons [google.com].

        So is your tank 5 gallons (19 liters) or 50 liters? In any case, it's pretty hard to find a common production car in the USA with a tank much smaller than 11 gallons, even the two passenger Smart FourTwo has an 8.7 gallon tank, though it's not exactly a gas miser since other 4 passenger subcompacts get similar milage.

        Such a huge fuel tank suggests that you've not made any substantial attempts at fuel economy previously. (My tank will carry me around 400 miles depending on speed. By which point I'm LONG over due for a coffee and piss stop.)

        Your car gets 80 miles per gallon (400 miles per 5 gallon)? Or 8 miles per liter (400 miles per 50 liter)?

        • My memory was telling me that our petrol tank is 5 gallons, but in hindsight I was remembering the litres-to-gallons conversion factor, not the capacity. I fill to the limit, so I don't actually look at the volume counter, just wait for the -click- as the pump trips out.

          So an 11 gallon tank is actually a fairly normal size. I'd check what the car takes to fill, but since we did it a couple of days ago, it'll probably be September before I do it again. Actually, no ; I'll be out of the continent by then, so

  • What more can you say?

  • I have an Android, Samsung Galaxy 5 and I have found the app very useful.

    If I go into the 'App Info' and click "Force Stop" does that prevent it from collecting and forwarding information?
    • Well they can collect data while the app is running, but as I understand it the app can't do anything when you Force Stop it until you restart it, or you reboot in which case it can once again be woken up by any events it is listening for (including the reboot).

      You can also Greenify it (I am rooted, though I understand Greenify still works unrooted I don't know how well) and that should have a similar effect every time you turn off your phone if the app isn't in the foreground.

  • Uninstalled from my phone, changed my rating from 5 stars to 2 and dropped them a note on their web site inviting them to contact me if they revise their TOS to respect my privacy again.

    I didn't live and die by Gas Buddy, but I did find it useful. Just not useful enough to bare my soul quite as far as they are now requiring.

  • by Blinkin1200 ( 917437 ) on Friday July 31, 2015 @10:08PM (#50227903)
    I like the app and use it once in a while. The prices near me can be quite different. My local Costco is not so local but usually BJ's or Sams have the cheapest prices. A while back I did an update for GasBuddy and was presented with a huge ad across the middle of the screen in the list view. I usually do not mind ads in the free versions but this was obtrusive.

    As quickly as I had updates the app, it was uninstalled. I then went to the Amazon App store and installed an older version, much older, and it was better, much better! Knowing there is a big obtrusive advertisement in the update / upgrade, I see no reason the make any changes. The older version is running fine on both a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (Kit Kat?), and a Samsung Galaxy S4 running Lollipop.

    If you don't like the Play Store app, get the one from Amazon, then ignore the reminders to update the app.
  • 10 million installs, 260 million drivers. So 1 in 26 drivers has this app. I find that hard to believe. It seems like if it was that popular, that I would have heard about it. On a similar note, one of our local news channels has local gas prices on their website.
  • App gasbuddy no longer has permission to do fuck all.

  • I installed that app years ago. Registered it, contributed to it. Around 6 months or so, somehow I wasn't registered anymore. Yet they still have my e-mail address. Then they started sending me e-mails. They wanted me to do stuff. Everybody around here is within a cent or two anyhow. So why am I concerned about this? Something changed over there. Think I'll de-install it. Besides, Waze has that stuff too I think.

  • I have 2 cars - one gets about 15-16mpg and has a 20 gallon tank + 3 gallon reserve; while the other gets about 30mpg and has a 10 gallon tank + 0.6 gallon thimble because... at 0.6 gallons I'm not sure why they bothered. But anyway, depending on where I'm going there might be 40 or 50 miles between towns and/or gas stations so it can be important to know whether I should stop and fill up in town A even though I might have 1/4 or 1/8 of a tank; or if I'll make it to town B but probably be on fumes (I also h

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