Companies don’t seem to learn from privacy controversies. According to new research published in The Washington Post, there is evidence that several popular applications are sending our data to third parties using the updates in the background. In this article we tell you all the details of this new study that has raised again the controversy regarding our privacy.
The Washington Post and the privacy firm Disconnect have carried out interesting research in several applications in order to detect the different trackers whose mission is to send user data to third parties. The results have been amazing as they have concluded that the applications take advantage of background updates to be able to send this location data to third party companies.
The research was based on observing what operations an iPhone actually performed throughout the day. The results showed that the applications sent both the phone number and the location or other data such as the IP address or email. The published statements of experience after the research are as follows:
On a Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other users got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 pm, a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 am, another one called Appboy got a fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 am, a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent me a list of other trackers to link to.
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There are many applications where these trackers have been detected, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Mint, Nike or Spotify. In one week of testing, to give you an idea, a total of 5,400 crawlers were detected , which seem to send 1.5GB of data over the course of the month.
Currently there is no transparency about what is done with this type of data, since we know that all applications store our data but the purpose is clear and we know that they can be deleted and are even under anonymity. In this case we see how even a fingerprint of the iPhone or our own phone number is sent. This is without a doubt a great scandal.
Apple continues to advocate that devices are ready to provide security and privacy. Specifically, the response to this controversy from Cupertino’s company has been the following, collected by MacRumors:
For data and services that applications create on their own, our App Store guidelines require developers to have clearly posted privacy policies and to ask users for permission to collect data before doing so. We either make applications change their practice or prevent those applications from being in the store.
They are not being too clear whether or not they will end up investigating these types of trackers, although we hope that in the future Cupertino’s company will tighten up their measures to preserve our own privacy. We recommend that you disable the background updates as we tell you in this article.