In news that shouldn’t really surprise anyone, the most popular mobile apps collect sensitive personal information and share it with third parties, a new study finds.
TechShielder researchers analyzed top-downloaded apps in 2021 and scoured their privacy policies to better understand how they handle data collection, storage, and sharing.
As it turns out, 60% of the world’s most used mobile apps collect and store data generated by people’s private conversations. Additionally, 80% collect data about messages their users send and receive. After all, all apps collect at least the basic information like phone numbers or email addresses.
Storage of cookies and user-generated content
In addition to sensitive data, most apps also look for cookies, small files that contain important information such as login credentials. Almost two-thirds (60%) store data related to user-generated content, while half (50%) have access to the photos and videos users keep on their devices.
Society’s awareness of online privacy has skyrocketed in recent years as the general public better understand how much money companies make from user data. As most companies transformed into data companies, so did the number of data breaches.
> These apps share a lot of your data online
> Android apps can now potentially lie about the data they collect
> These are the best business smartphones of the moment (opens in new tab)
This consequently led to more fraud and ultimately more money lost. Law enforcement agencies and legislators joined the fight to protect consumers with better regulatory frameworks (think GDPR) and faster responses.
Today’s consumers are caught between sharing data with companies and getting more personalized offers and an overall better user experience, on the one hand, and protecting their privacy and security from potential cybercriminals involved in identity theft, on the other (opens in new tab).
Organizations are caught between collecting data and using it to beat the competition and cybercriminals trying to exploit their privacy weaknesses.
- Here’s our rundown of the best privacy tools (opens in new tab) out there
Above: VentureBeat (opens in new tab)
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