Android Apps Collect Way More Data Than They Admit, Here's How

By this point data sharing has been accepted as a common practice in the industry, but in spite of the fact that this is the case many are concerned that app developers are taking things too far. A group of experts working at Incogni recently did an analysis of the Google Play Store, and that revealed some interesting facts about how many apps share user data as well as the quantity of data that they harvest and then share.

It turns out that well over half of Google Play Store apps, or 55.2% to be precise, take part in data sharing with all things having been considered and taken into account. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that free apps share 7 times more data than paid ones, and social media platforms tend to top that list.

Social media platforms like Facebook are notorious for collecting massive quantities of data, but they also report sharing the least. This is only possible due to them exploiting a loophole in how Google defines data sharing, though. Sharing data for legal purposes doesn’t count, nor does anonymized data count even though it can be reidentified just about 100% of the time, or 99.98% to be exact which is basically the same thing.

The transit journey of data is also something that these researchers dived into. A shocking 4.9% of apps did not encrypt user data while sharing it, and that makes it less secure than might have been the case otherwise. The data could potentially be intercepted in transit by malicious actors.

What all of this entails is that the numbers don’t seem to portray the real picture. Most of the data that is shared does not fall under Google’s convenient definition, and the lack of encryption makes it likely that a lot more data is being stolen than users realize. More work needs to be done to provide users with data security, because companies clearly can’t be trusted to regulate themselves since this would go against their own self interest.

Read next: The People Aged 18-25 Are More Into Big Tech Companies Like Google And Amazon, But Facebook And Instagram Do Not Stand Anywhere
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