34 popular Android apps were tested by Privacy International. IT found that around two-thirds of the apps send data to Facebook as soon as users launch the apps.
It does not make a difference if you don’t have a Facebook account or are logged out of the social media platform.
The data Facebook gets is used to create advertising profile, said Privacy International. It could also be used to build detailed information on more private topics such as religion of health interests.
“We found that at least 61 percent of apps we tested automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app. This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not.” Said Privacy International.
“The primary purpose of advertising IDs, such as the Google advertising ID (or Apple’s equivalent, the IDFA) is to allow advertisers to link data about user behavior from different apps and web browsing into a comprehensive profile.” it mentioned.
“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 privacy group continued.
According to a Facebook spokesperson:
“Facebook’s SDK tool means that developers can choose to collect app events automatically, to not collect them at all, or to delay collecting them until consent is obtained, depending on their particular circumstances.”
“We also require developers to ensure they have an appropriate legal basis to collect and process users’ information. Finally, we provide guidance to developers on how to comply with our requirements in this regard.”
“Facebook’s collection of information is clearly explained in our Data Policy and Cookies Policy. We ensure that these policies are accessible from each page on Facebook, and that users can access and read these policies when they sign up to Facebook or during updates to these policies.”
Security experts in Germany at MobilSicher tested apps last month which include Pregnancy+, Bible+, Migraine Buddy, and Muslim Pro. Such apps were gathering information and sending it to Facebook.
The app are all using Facebook’s Software Developer Kit or SDK, this allow developers to make use of the analytics service provided by Facebook.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.