Study reveals 70 percent of mobile app data is being shared with third parties
Smartphones have become ubiquitous computing devices, and manufacturers are doing all they can to catch your attention with the latest and greatest tech. But there's also another group which is taking advantage of the smartphone boom: personal data tracking companies that know when your next date is on! A study has revealed that more than 70 percent of the apps that you use daily report to a third party analytics service — be it Google Analytics, Facebook, or Crashlytics.
To understand where all the data leads to, researchers from the IMDEA Networks Institute in Spain developed an Android app that lets the user see where the app data is being sent. The app, called Lumen Privacy Monitor, can show realtime information of a users app activity, which it collects and analyzes. However, the Institute says that the study was voluntary and no personally identifiable data has been collected. The app has been in use since October 2015. Since then, it has been used by more than 1600 people and analyzed more than 5000 apps. Companies like Facebook, Google, and even internet service providers like Verizon Wireless were observed to have used user data for advertising. The data was not only sent by apps but also websites that were found to build profiles of users.
The best way to circumvent this problem is to be wary of the permissions that apps ask for during installation. For example, if a torchlight app requests access to the phonebook, you might be in for a privacy breach. Being prudent about revealing personal information electronically also goes a long way in restricting access to your personal information.