Privacy

The following privacy policy applies to:

This app DOES NOT collect, store, or transmit your:

  • name
  • user ID
  • email address (e.g. Apple ID or Google ID)
  • mobile telephone number
  • MAC address
  • store account info and purchase history
  • credit card or financial info
  • photos/videos
  • browser history
  • phone/text log
  • contacts
  • messages and emails
  • installed apps
  • data from non-Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand apps
  • GPS or WiFi location data
  • fingerprint reader data
  • voice authentification data
  • health data

Usage Statistics: In order to help us know which app features are popular with our users (and thus which features we should spend more development time on in the future), this app collects aggregate usage statistics, such as the average number of times per week that you go to each screen (e.g. Search, different screens under Categories, Help, or Settings), the average number of times per week that you use app features (e.g. Find Words Inside, History, External Links, slow sound playback, etc.), the app settings that you choose in the Settings screen (e.g. font size, pronunciation guide system choice, etc.), and the count of Favorites and Favorites folders you create. This app does not collect the search keywords that you enter: we only collect the average number of search keywords, the average number of letters in a search keyword, and how often you use each search mode and language, so that we can figure out what kind of searches our customers do most often. This app also does not collect the names of Favorites folders you create, the particular words/phrases you add to Favorites, or the text of custom URLs you use for the External Links feature. Since each app Category is on a different screen, the app does measure which Categories you go to most often, but again not in a way that can be tied to your personal identity. This helps us figure out which Categories are most useful to our customers as an aggregate, so our editorial staff can focus their time on expanding the popular categories. The app transmits these aggregate, non-personalized usage statistics either directly to Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand servers or indirectly to Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand through servers associated with Google Analytics, Apple iTunes Analytics, or Facebook Analytics. The non-personalized, aggregate data is stored and transmitted in encrypted form.

Licensing: Like many other paid apps, this app collects and transmits non-personal information needed to verify that you are properly licensed to use the app. Depending on your platform (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) and depending on your particular device, this may include your Internet Protocol ("IP") address, your device make/model, your operating system version, or a unique device identifier (UDID) that does not contain your personal information. Our app queries the licensing facilities built into your device operating system (iOS, Android, Windows) to ask "is this a licensed copy?" The operating system responds to our app with either a "yes" or "no" with no additional information. In the process of obtaining that answer, your device operating system may use or collect information about your personal identity, store account, purchase history, etc. which it does not make available to our app or to Paiboon Publishing or Word in the Hand (consult the privacy policies of those companies for more information on what information they collect for license verification).

Analytics: To help Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand better understand who our customers are and how our current customers discover our products, so that we can focus our future feature/vocab development and marketing efforts in ways that customers will find useful, we use common analytics packages such as Google Analytics, Apple iTunes Analytics, the Apple iTunes Affiliate program, and Facebook Analytics. These packages provide Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand with generalized, averaged, aggregate, non-personally-identifiable information about our customer base as a whole, such as what countries our customers are typically located in, what types of devices and which operating system software version our customers tend to have, and which of our public marketing messages (e.g. websites, Facebook posts, emails, etc.) our customers were reading when they decided to purchase the app. In order to generate these aggregate statistics, these analytics packages may collect personally identifiable information such as the the Apple, Google or Facebook account to which you are logged in on other apps on the same device, but these packages do not share that personally identifiable information with our app or with Paiboon Publishing or Word in the Hand. We only have access to anonymous data points and aggregate statistics.

Analytics Opt-Out: Some of these analytics packages offer you the ability to opt-out of certain kinds of data collection. For example, on the Android platform you can opt-out of "Google Analytics Advertising Features" by going to the "Google Settings" app (on Google-branded devices it is called just "Settings") and under "Google...Ads" opting out of "personalization." This will cause Google to withhold some of the anonymous statistics from us, such as estimated age and gender demographics. Again, even if you do not opt-out, Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand still has no access to that kind of information in a way that is tied to your personal identity—you are only opting out of giving us access to anonymous statistics about our customer base in general. On iOS, you can go to the Apple Settings app under Privacy > Advertising and enable "Limit Ad Tracking" to get a similar effect (and, like Android, no matter what setting you make here, we don't collect, store, or transmit your personally identifiable information). These opt-out settings are typically more relevant for controlling what kids of ads you see (whether the ads you see are personalized to your profile or not), but since our app does not show any ads, the controls are of limited relevance and we appreciate it if you are willing to share the additional information anonymously by keeping the controls enabled.

Android App Permissions

We care a lot about privacy and we ourselves do not like apps that request unnecessary permissions, so we have done a lot of work to reduce our set of requested permissions to the minimum possible.

Unfortunately, Google has made several design decisions in Android over the years that make it totally confusing for our customers to figure out what is actually going on with their privacy. Here we try to clear up all the common misunderstandings and let you know exactly what our app is doing with each permission.

First, when you install an Android app, older versions of Android simply installed the app without any permission-related notice, whereas newer versions of Android show you a detailed list of permissions requested. This has given some customers a false impression that we have added to our list of requested permissions when we have not.

Second, when Android presents the list of permissions, Google does it in a misleading way that makes it sound like our app does all sorts of nefarious things when we do not. Google bundles together wide ranges of functionality into coarse permissions categories, forcing us to request the whole category even if we only use one small piece of functionality.

Here is a complete list of what permissions we request, why, and what we do with that permission:

  • WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE: All apps that need to save any kind of file on your device (including ours, which needs to save your Favorites) must request WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE.

  • INTERNET: All Android apps that need to download files over a certain size, including our large database of Thai definitions and high-quality Thai sound recordings, must do so by downloading the file separately from the core of the app (the core APK). This is a built-in requirement by Google (the maximum size of the core APK that Google allows has changed over time, but we still must use a separate file in order to keep supporting older devices). When you purchase and download large apps from the Google Play Store, for most users Google downloads the app core and then our large "APK Expansion file" (also known as an OBB file) with the Thai sounds before the app runs the first time. But on some devices, the user or Android may later delete that OBB file, meaning we must download it again at a later time in order to keep the app working. This is why all such apps need INTERNET permission. We also need INTERNET permission in order to fetch the latest currency conversion rates for our app's built-in currency converter (see Help > Using the App > Currency). We also use INTERNET permission to periodically send anonymized usage information as explained above.

  • WAKE_LOCK: we use this permission only during the (rare) process of downloading our large database of Thai definitions and high-quality Thai sound recordings. Without this permission, the download will stop every time your device screen blanks, which is counterintuitive and frustrating and leads our customers to think the download will never complete.

  • ACCESS_WIFI_STATE: we also this permission only during the (rare) process of downloading our large database of Thai definitions and high-quality Thai sound recordings. This permission lets us detect if you are on a network that might potentially be costly for you and offer you a checkbox to pause the download until you are back on WiFi.

  • CHECK_LICENSE: all Android apps that use Google Play Licensing, including ours, must request this permission. Lots of paid apps do the same (but not all paid apps use Google Play Licensing; some paid apps have their own proprietary system to do purchase and licensing).

  • ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE: this permission is required for Google Analytics. As explained above, Google Analytics does not give us any access to any personally identifiable information for any customer.

  • READ_PHONE_STATE: Currently, this permission does nothing at all. It is intensely frustrating to us that some versions of Android describe this permission as "read status of ongoing calls, a list of phone account installed on the device, ..." when we do none of these things and never have. Some people even interpret this poor Google wording as the ability to read contacts, which it is not. In the past, we used READ_PHONE_STATE to read a single anonymized ID that gave us some kind of unique ID for your device (just a number, not anything we can use to know your phone number or IMEI or name or anything like that) which we could then use when working with customers to debug the download process when needed, and also as a double-check on Google Play Licensing to make sure we had about as many active users as we expect. However, many years ago (perhaps as early as 2017?) Google effectively disabled this ID feature by making the feature return the same ID to all apps on all devices all the time. So we have not used this feature since then. In our next release of our app, we will remove this permission request completely. The reason we have not removed the permission already is related to another sad reality of the Android ecosystem: every time we want to release a new version of our app, Google forces us to update to the latest Android developer toolkit. Not only does this require us to do a massive amount of busy-work that makes each release time-consuming for us, but the newer Google toolkits also drop support for a certain percent of older devices. We believe Google is making a big mistake here, taking a page from Apple's unethical playbook, and we don't want to play along with it. We believe in keeping apps working on old devices as long as possible. So we only do app updates when we either are forced to (by new Android bugs that we must work around), or we have a significant range of new features or vocabulary to offer our customers.

For more information, contact:

paiboonpublishing@gmail.com

support@word-in-the-hand.com

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