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88 per cent of free Android apps are sharing data with Google

A SURVEY from Oxford University suggests that nearly all free apps in the Google Play Store are sharing data with Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

The report, which first appeared in the Financial Times (paywalled) suggests that nearly 90 per cent of free apps are leaking data back to Alphabet which can then be used in the increasingly cut-throat world of online advertising.

Cross-referencing this data with that collected from elsewhere can easily yield a huge wealth of data, such as age, location, gender, and then, of course, there’s the rest that can be deduced by the types of apps you have on your phone, and what you do with them.

Google has criticised the methodology of the report, telling the BBC: “It mischaracterises ordinary functional services like crash reporting and analytics, and how apps share data to deliver those services,”

“Across Google and in Google Play we have clear policies and guidelines for how developers and third-party apps can handle data and we require developers to be transparent and ask for user permission. If an app violates our policies, we take action.”

But campaigners remain concerned about the level of transparency afforded to customers, with it often remaining unclear to the end user what their data is being used for, why, and how to opt out.

Campaigners are keen to emphasise that the level of data being collected far outweighs the ‘necessities’ of the companies ability to provide a service, and are instead being collected purely for profit.

Personal data, and its usage has been front and centre since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, revealing the extent to which our habits and lifestyle choices are being monetised.

Although there’s no suggestion that Alphabet has done anything underhand per se, the issue offers further evidence of the extent to which this type of collection is going on amongst those who haven’t been rumbled for it yet. μ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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