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How Recent News protects your privacy

A legal victory this week has highlighted how the FBI uses National Security Letters, which don't require a judge's approval, to obtain user records from Internet companies.
This is a good time to remind Recent News users of our commitment to your privacy. You trust our recommendation engine to learn your interestsso Recent News can grow smarter the more you use it—and we want to be worthy of that trust.
Here are some of the steps we take to protect your privacy:
You can use Recent News anonymously. Unlike some of our competitors, we don't require you to provide your email address, your name, your phone number, your friends' identities, or your social network login to receive amazingly good recommendations. Our recommendation engine is smart enough to learn your interests based on what you read, share, bookmark, etc. inside the appwe don't need to know your real name.
• Limit log storage. Our recommendation engine stores up to 1 gigabyte of logs for no more than 90 days. Now that we have tens of thousands of users, we're filling up that 1 gigabyte of log storage in 54 daysthat is, we're reaching the storage limit before the time limit. (Put another way, given our current usage levels, logs that are 55 days old or older will not be stored.)
• SSL. Requests from the iOS and Android Recent News apps to our recommendation engine are encrypted.
• Protecting location privacy. To provide local news, we don't need to know your exact location, only the general area you're in. On Android we request your device's general area (developers will recognize this as the ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION permission, not the more precise ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION).
• No IDFAs, UDIDs, or Android Advertising IDs. Both iOS and Android provide developers with access to unique advertising identifiers. Recent News doesn't use them. (Maybe there will be some reason to use these IDs in the future, but we haven't been able to think of any so far.)
• No background activity. Recent News performs no operations when suspended on either iOS or Android. We believe this respects your privacy and also extends your battery life.
In addition, as our in-app privacy policy says:
We have not received any legal process or demand from any federal, state, or local government that includes a gag order. We have received no National Security Letters, civil subpoenas, search warrants, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders, grand jury subpoenas, or any other form of compulsory process accompanied by a gag order.
We have received no legal orders requiring us to monitor users' future activities or to modify our service.
If we do receive any form of compulsory process from a government agency, we'll do our best to ensure that our users' legal rights and privacy rights are protected. That includes challenging overly broad orders in court. (Thanks to Nick Merrill for challenging the National Security Letter he received; it was that lawsuit that led to this week's disclosures.)
If you have any other privacy-related suggestions, please let us know!
Meanwhile, if you haven't already, you can download the current versions of Recent News here: at the iOS App Store link and the Google Play Store. Keep us with us on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected].
Posted by Declan McCullagh, co-founder & CEO (@declanm)
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