A number of popular iOS apps collect personal information without the users' knowledge.
After connecting an iPhone to monitoring software, The Washington Post discovered that more than 5,400 app trackers sent data from the device to third parties.
The size of the collected data varies enormously, with trackers sniffing sensitive information such as e-mails, telephone numbers, IP addresses and the exact location of a user, among others.
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After linking an iPhone to monitoring software, The Washington Post discovered that more than 5,400 app trackers were sending data from the device to third parties
WHAT DATA DO THE APPS COLLECT?
After linking an iPhone to monitoring software, the Washington Post discovered that more than 5,400 app trackers were sending data from the device to third parties.
The data collected included:
- Email addresses
- Precise location data
- Phone numbers
- Unique Ad ID & # 39; s
- IP addresses
- Accelerometer data
- Mobile carriers
App trackers are often the busiest at night, when the device owner is sleeping or when a smartphone is not being used.
They often use Apple's & # 39; app background refresh & # 39 ;, which allows apps to send data when they are not being actively used, primarily to ensure that they are up-to-date when you return to the app.
Although they can improve the user experience, the Post discovered that the process ultimately passes on sensitive information to third-party tracking companies such as Amplitude, Appboy and Demdex.
The data collected and shared with these companies amounted to a total of 1.5 gigabytes, which for some users may be equal to half their monthly data allocation.
Microsoft & # 39; s OneDrive, Intuit & # 39; s Mint, Nike, Spotify, the Weather Channel, the Washington Post, Yelp, Citizen, and DoorDash are just a few of the many apps whose trackers absorb large amounts of personal information.
& # 39; These are your details. Why would it even leave your phone? Why would it be collected by someone if you don't know what they will do with it? & # 39; Patrick Jackson, chief technology officer for the Disconnect privacy company, told the Post.
& # 39; I know the value of data, and I don't want mine in hands where it doesn't have to be. & # 39;
App trackers are difficult to block, unlike cookies, which are pieces of browser code that you follow on the internet, largely because it is easy for the trackers to go unnoticed, according to the Post.
Many of the apps use trackers to see what users are clicking on, so that companies can gauge how their user activity looks at a more detailed level.
Apple clearly states: & # 39; What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone. & # 39; However, a bombshell report has found that the personal data of users is closely monitored by app trackers
In other cases, the trackers are used so that external companies can target advertisements more effectively in the app.
The main problem is that some apps do not explicitly state which data is collected, how long it is stored and who has access to it in a predetermined issue.
De Post discovered that the Yelp app sent data to trackers every five minutes – something the company later discovered due to a bug.
App for delivering food DoorDash has discovered that it uses nine trackers in its apps.
The trackers collected data such as addresses, names, emails, device name, unique ad ID and even data on accelerometers to detect fraudsters.
Since the number of sensitive data is tracked by popular apps, many believe that Apple is responsible for keeping it under better control because it distributes the iOS software on which they run.
& # 39; At Apple, we do a lot to help users keep their information private, & # 39; the company told the Post.
& # 39; Apple hardware and software are designed to provide advanced security and privacy at every level of the system. & # 39;
It does offer a number of functions, such as the ability to disable app refresh in the background, and tools such as & # 39; Limit Ad Tracking & # 39; and & # 39; Intelligent Tracking Prevention & # 39 ;, which prevent apps and sites from displaying targeted ads on your device.
But the company could also consider making apps more transparent about the trackers they use, so that users become more aware of how their data is being monitored over time.
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