We use the apps every day – and there’s not much we do online without them, whether it’s via banking, tracking our fitness, chatting with friends, or gaming. If you’re wondering just how private is the data you share with these apps, and which ones share this information the most, a new study sheds light on the question.
The cloud storage company pCloud made the discovery after analyzing the privacy labels for apps recently submitted to the Apple App Store which companies now have to include. Swiss cloud storage service produced this new arrangement by verifying this app privacy data, which Apple began ordering in December 2020.
“Any information you agree to see collected by an app upon registration can be analyzed for its benefit and even shared. Ivan Dimitrov, digital director at pCloud, wrote in a blog post detailing the search, everything from browsing history to your site, banking details and physical form can be Great value for applications that can store, use or resell it.
He added, “With more than 1 billion monthly active users, it is alarming that Instagram is a hub for sharing such an amount of data from its users without their knowledge.”
PCloud counted the number of times the app used personal data for internal or marketing advertising, or for third-party ads. Apple lists the types of data that apps reveal in 14 categories: browsing history, contact details, contacts, diagnostics, financial information, health and fitness, identifiers, location, purchases, search history, sensitive information, usage data, user content, and other data.
Instagram has been ranked the worst offender in the rating, and 11 of those 14 categories, or 79%, are partnering with third parties for the purpose of selling ads, according to pCloud. He uses 12 of the 14, or 86%, for his advertising and marketing.
The second worst offender for sharing the personal data of its users is Facebook, the parent company of Instagram. The social network gets the same score of 86% through its own application in terms of internal advertising and marketing, and it ranks second in the ranking of engagements with external parties with 57% (8 out of 14).
LinkedIn and Uber Eats share the third place among the apps that have shared the most personal data with third parties, at a rate of 50% each. Right behind them is Trainline, YouTube, and YouTube Music, with 43% (6 out of 14) each.
“When you search for a video on YouTube, 42% of your personal data is sent elsewhere. This data is then used to determine the types of ads you will see before and during the videos, and it is sold to brands that target you on other social media platforms,” he says. pCloud.
“YouTube isn’t the worst when it comes to selling your information. This award goes to Instagram, which shares 79% of your data with other companies. This includes purchase information, personal data and browsing history. No wonder there is so much promoted content on your feed.” .
In contrast, the other meal delivery apps Just Eat, Grubhub, and My McDonald’s are among the few that don’t transmit any data about their users. Other apps that have protected their users’ data include the privacy-focused apps Signal and Telegram, as well as the online streaming services BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
How dangerous is this situation?
Apple’s new privacy tags forced tech companies to announce exactly how they track people, which recently prompted privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo to accuse Google of “spying on users.” After delaying the release of its privacy stickers, Google revealed last week that it is collecting users’ location information, financial information, browsing history and audio data.
“After months of procrastination, Google finally revealed the amount of personal data it collects in Chrome and the Google app,” read a message posted on the DuckDuckGo Twitter account. “No wonder they wanted to hide it.”
when The App Store update was announced last yearPrivacy advocates said the new transparency standard is essential to the future of online privacy.
“The changes mean people can take privacy issues into account more easily when choosing to buy or download an app,” said the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has helped push for the new ratings. “Protecting people’s control over their data is important to protect privacy as well as the proper functioning of the market.”
In response to a request for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said, “We have built transparency into our products and controls that help people manage their privacy,” he said. “But Apple’s naming format, on which this report relies heavily, is very broad and ignores how the data is used in context. It does not allow us to provide people with specific information about the types of data we collect and where it is collected, which unfortunately creates some confusion.”
It might not really bother third parties to know what a user might have purchased on Instagram, but it does happen when Instagram shares their financial information, contact details, contacts, search and navigation history. It should also be borne in mind that these ratings are based entirely on what app developers choose to share with Apple. Apps that do not disclose all this information may be kicked out of the App Store, but that does not mean that they are all truthful.
Thousands of iPhone apps are also known to leak personal information from their back-end servers in the cloud. It’s a safe bet that many iPhone apps have errors leaking personal data in their passcode that they are not aware of.
The popular messaging app only collects and shares about 5% of your data, according to this study, but remember that if you use WhatsApp to communicate with a company, the app will share your phone number, location, transaction data, and device ID. And product interaction and user IDs with Facebook.
The upside is that you can control a lot of what the apps collect and share about you. When you open an app for the first time, it asks for various permissions, which you can only grant, deny, or grant while using the app. You can also go to the “Settings” app on your iPhone to improve what the app collects about you.
Source : pCloud
What do you think about this study?
Instagram and Facebook collect and share most of the data about their users, according to pCloud. What comments do you make about it?
What do you think of this massive collection of app data and sharing for advertising purposes?
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