News

iOS and Android Apps Caught Sharing User Location Data with 40 Companies

By Nitish Singh / December 10, 2018

A full-featured report was published by the New York Times that highlights the extent to which our private data is collected and shared by some apps. A number of apps were tested across iOS and Android, which are the two biggest mobile OS platforms currently. The publication was able to pinpoint the identity of some individuals based on the data being shared by one particular iOS app.

Location data is meant to be anonymous and should not be tied to a single individual. However, the report reveals that it is entirely possible for both Android and iOS apps to track the movements of users using a combination of GPS and internet connectivity and constantly track the precise location of individuals.

iOS and Android Apps Caught Sharing User Location Data with 40 Companies

Image Courtesy of New York Times

The NY Times report used the example of an individual whose location information was collected and sold without any consent or notification. Some apps track your location as often as every two seconds which is quite alarming. Over a million phones have their data shared in the New York area alone, and the number of phones that have their data sold globally is unimaginable.

20 Android and iOS apps were tested, and most of them were flagged by both researchers and industry insiders for potentially sharing private location data. 17 of the 20 apps shared the exact latitude and longitude data to up to 70 businesses with 40 of them receiving exact location data with photos as well. Privacy terms and conditions are explained very vaguely in the EULA of most of the tested apps.

Some of the most famous apps that were caught selling data from their iOS and Android users include IBM and the Weather Channel app, which is one of the most popular weather apps across both platforms. The report has called for federal privacy regulation similar to the GDPR policy that was implemented earlier this year.

What do you think about the Android and iOS apps selling location data? Let us know in the comments below. Also, Follow TechNadu on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!



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