Nokia Uses Dark Patterns to Deceive Users

Published on 10 Jul 2023
Written by Pranav Chakkarwar
2 min to read

Last week, after nearly three years, I was obliged to use an old phone of mine (a stock Android Nokia) because my bank’s app refused to work on my primary de-googled device. And, during the phone’s setup process, I was mildly shocked to discover how Nokia used multiple dark patterns to manipulate my decisions.

Right at the start, I was obliged to press a very logically named “Let’s go” button, which would let Nokia collect a one-time device location and a device activation code. As if “Let’s go” means “take my data”.

They somehow also came to the conclusion that it was absolutely necessary for THEM to know MY location and device activation code for ME start using MY phone.

As you can see in the screenshot below - I can’t opt-out, it’s COMPULSORY.

Nokia Setup Welcome Screen

After that, I had to accept the usual BS of Google wanting access to my device analytics, my device location, and whatnot.

As I thought the setup was almost complete, Nokia decided to step back in with a deceiving congratulatory screen that said “You are nearly ready to go…!” in huge font and “By tapping LET’S GO! You agree to join the User Experience Programme … something something” in a smaller font. To complete the setup, I can either tap a big blue “Let’s go” button or tap a less noticeable “Not now…” button. Again, it seems Nokia misunderstands the meaning of “Let’s go”.

A dark pattern, indeed.

Nokia Let's go screen

Nokia made sure most people don’t click on links by making the colour of links same as the rest of the text. Hmmm…

But, that’s not it!

You will be shown more pop-ups, obscure links, and useless jargon, even if you manage to click on links. For example, the link to User Experience Program’s data collection policy is hyperlinked to “here” instead of “User Experience Program”. To me, it seems like a multi-billion dollar company can’t hire people that know something about accessibility? Or are they doing it on purpose?

Alt text

Now comes the juicy part - The terms of User Experience Program.

If you agree to join it, Nokia will collect all sorts of sensitive data including, your device’s IMEI, mobile country code, mobile network code, device model, nearby Wi-Fi access point names, system version, installed apps, how often you use your apps, app crash info, location, IP address, battery level, and even data about which features you use and the LINKS you use!!!

Nokia User Experience Program data collection practices

I guess I’ll just stick with web banking for now.