An investigation by Privacy International has revealed that 61 per cent of apps downloaded and installed on Android smartphones shared users data with Facebook.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports
Privacy International has been investigating the proliferation of data tracking, brokerage and exchange between many tech companies, both as their primary business as well as value added services.
Facebook routinely tracks users, non-users and logged-out users outside its platform through Facebook Business Tools, according to Privacy International.
App developers share data with Facebook through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of software development tools that help developers build apps for a specific operating system.
Using the free and open source software tool called “mitmproxy”, an interactive HTTPS proxy, Privacy International has analyzed the data that a number of Android apps transmit to Facebook through the Facebook SDK.
One of the key findings showed that at least 61 per cent of apps tested automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app.
This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not.
Privacy International also found that some apps routinely send Facebook data that is incredibly detailed and sometimes sensitive.
“Again, this concerns data of people who are either logged out of Facebook or who do not have a Facebook account,” the firm said.
Some apps that were part of the study included MyFitnessPal, Duolingo, Family Locator, Kayak, My Talking Tom, Shazam, Spotify, and several other popular apps.
The information sent to Facebook included the app’s title, the user’s unique Android ID, and other app analytics.
Some apps like Kayak were found sending to Facebook sensitive data that include flight searches, travel timeline of children, and all the destinations that a user searched for.
The move is being seen as a clear violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was set up in May this year.
Under the new regulation, mobile apps cannot collect or share a user’s data without their permission.