Some popular Android apps have been sharing data with Facebook without users' permission, a new study has found. Privacy International, a UK-based campaign group, found that TripAdvisor, Kayak, MyFitnessPal and Skyscanner are just a few of the many Android apps that are sending sensitive user data to Facebook. In some cases, the apps were sharing private data with the social media giant even if users didn't have a Facebook account. Some popular Android apps, like Skyscanner, MyFitnessPal and TripAdvisor, have been sharing data with Facebook without users' knowledge, a new study has found Privacy International conducted a review of 34 popular Android apps and found that at least 21, or 61 percent, of them began collecting data from users as soon as they opened the app - and before users gave permission to do so. 'This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not,' the firm explained.
Rights group Privacy International (PI) is once again drawing attention to popular apps like Yelp and Duolingo sending data to Facebook as soon as they are launched and before users can consent to it. The group in December called out 21 popular Android apps for sending data to Facebook as soon as the user opens an app, among them Spotify, Skyscanner, Kayak, Yelp, and Duolingo. It also highlighted that two Muslim prayer apps, Qibla Connect and Muslim Pro, displayed the same behavior. It found the apps automatically send so-called'events data', such as the fact the app is installed, to Facebook's servers before users can give their consent, which PI argues is required under Europe's GDPR. The common thread between the apps is they use the Facebook mobile software developer kit (SDK), a popular mobile analytics platform that provides data about how people are using a mobile app so that developers can target ads.
Facebook is once again coming under public scrutiny over its data privacy policies, this time after a comprehensive report from Privacy International showed how many popular Android apps are sharing personal user data with Facebook. This data sharing usually starts as soon as a user opens up the app, and can occur without even asking for user consent. Even more troubling, this data sharing can happen even if a person does not have a Facebook account, or is logged out of their current Facebook account. The biggest finding from Privacy International is that 61% of apps automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the mobile app. Privacy International looked at 34 different apps on Android, all of them popular apps such as Trip Advisor or Kayak that are readily available on the Google Play store.
UK-based Privacy International revealed on Sunday to the 35th Chaos Communication Congress a glimpse of the extent to which app developers are handing data to Facebook, even if the user is not a Facebook user. In its report on the subject, based on testing 34 Android apps that have between 10 to 500 million users, the charity said it was "greatly concerned" with how user data is "exploited" in the back-end systems of Facebook and Google.