Phone Companies Are Exploiting Low-Income Users Around the World

Cheap Android phones filled with potentially dangerous ‘bloatware’ are just the beginning

Aimee Pearcy


Credit: NurPhoto/Getty

WWhen it comes to privacy, there has always been a clear divide between the richest and poorest people in society. While the rich can afford to pay for the luxury of living in secluded homes with multiple bedrooms to themselves and high-tech security systems to ward off trespassers, the poorest in society have often had no other option but to share their space with multiple others — often strangers — with little guarantee of protection or privacy.

But the rise of the internet has raised a concern about a different kind of privacy: data privacy. And as corporations continue to monetize the web, the divide between the rich and the poor is only set to grow wider.

As the familiar saying goes, “If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product.” And nothing has turned people into products quite like the internet. As a result, the most powerless in our society are freely handing over their data — not because they want to, but because they have no other choice.

Low-income users are resorting to cheap phones with security vulnerabilities