These Popular Android Apps Are Sharing Your Data With Facebook Without Permission

These Popular Android Apps Are Sharing Your Data With Facebook Without Permission

These Popular Android Apps Are Sharing Your Data With Facebook Without Permission

A study has revealed that close to 20 Android apps on Play Store automatically send the user's data to Facebook without their consent, raising privacy concerns.

This means cracking down on how companies like Google and Facebook use and sell the data they collect on their users.

A "profile" could be based on the European legal sense of it-an online identity that a user creates for herself-or Facebook's own definition, which she says could be as simple as, "having a profile of you waiting for you when you sign up".

Apps on Android smartphones, including music streaming service Spotify and travel site TripAdvisor, were among apps found to be sending data by researchers at campaign group Privacy International.

Facebook's track record with privacy is a rocky one, but the idea of giving up some personal data is seen by many users as an acceptable price to pay for using the social network.

User data is still not safe with Facebook and many other apps. The company also stressed to the Financial Times that developers could turn off automatic data gathering and could delay sending app analytics. For instance, Kayak app sends data including destination and flight search, travel dates, and if kids are also travelling.

Among the apps that were identified in the study, Skyscanner insisted that it was "not aware" that it was sending user data without consent.

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A YEAR AGO, hearing that Android apps were gossiping about you to Facebook would have barely elicited a shrug.

Looking on the bright side, there are some apps tested by Privacy International that didn't transmit information to Facebook the moment they were opened - shout out to Candy Crush Saga, Opera Browser, and Speedtest by Ookla.

Read about the saga of Facebook's failures in ensuring privacy for user data, including how it relates to Cambridge Analytica, the GDPR, the Brexit campaign, and the 2016 USA presidential election.

Privacy International was not able to determine for sure how Facebook uses this data since they aren't very transparent with these matters. If combined, data from different apps can paint a fine-grained and intimate picture of people's activities, interests, behaviors and routines, some of which can reveal special category data, including information about people's health or religion.

The report from Privacy International points out that a person with a Muslim prayer app, period tracker, Indeed and a children's app could be identified as likely a female, Muslim, job-seeking parent - even if they had never identified themselves as any of those things on Facebook.

Furthermore, Privacy International's research showed that the data sharing described above happens even for users who don't have a Facebook account, and have opted out of receiving Facebook cookies (as explained in Facebook's Cookies Policy).

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