These two App Store apps are most likely to steal your personal data

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Starting last December, Apple added privacy labels to the listings of apps in the AppStore. The labels reveal the information that each app has access to from iOS users. Existing apps had to include this information the first time that they were updated after December 7th and some companies, like Google, held off updating its existing apps for as long as possible in order to prevent showing the Privacy Labels on their apps’ listing.

Instagram and Facebook are the worst offenders when it comes to collecting users’ personal data

Now that the data is out, would you like to know which apps collect and share the most data? This sounds like an arduous task that would require hours of work and require that someone go through every app in the App Store. Luckily, cloud storage firm pCloud was able to handle this grueling work. And some of the numbers it came up with are incredible. For example, 80% of apps use your data to market their own products to you in their own app and on other platforms. There are also in-app promotions for a company’s own benefit or for the benefit of third-party apps that pay for this service.

Each app collects data from 14 possible categories including: Purchases; Location; Contact Info; Contacts; User Content; Search History; Browser History; Identifiers; Usage Data; Diagnostics; Sensitive Info; Financial Info; Health & Data, and Other Data. To determine which apps collect the most personal data, pCloud says that it analyzed “how many of the possible 14 data categories each collects under Apple’s ‘Developer’s Advertising or Marketing’ section”; pCloud’s analysis revealed that Instagram and Facebook both are tied at the top as the worst offenders in collecting your data for their benefit. Both apps, which are owned by Facebook, use 86% of your own data to sell their products to you while also showing you relevant ads for other companies. Klarna and Grubhub were next, both collecting 64% of your data. Those apps were followed by Uber and Uber Eats (57%) and six apps that take half of your personal data (eBay, Just Eat, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and YouTube Music). The personal data these apps use include birthdates to offer discounts, and the times that you use the apps every day. If a company knows that you usually open their app on a certain time during a certain day, they will know when to push out a coupon your way.

pCloud notes in its report that “YouTube isn’t the worst when it comes to selling your information on. That award goes to Instagram, which shares a staggering 79% of your data with other companies. Including everything from purchasing information, personal data, and browsing history. No wonder there’s so much promoted content on your feed. With over 1 billion monthly active users it’s worrying that Instagram is a hub for sharing such a high amount of its unknowing users’ data. In second place is Facebook, which gives 57% of your data away, while LinkedIn and Uber Eats both sell off 50%. In fact, when it comes to food apps, Just Eat, Grubhub and My McDonald’s are the only three in our study that give nothing away at all, instead using your data for location tracking and their own marketing needs.”

According to the study, pCloud named 20 apps as the safest to use. 14 of them share none of your data with third parties. Those apps include Signal, Clubhouse, Netflix, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Shazam, Etsy, Skype, Telegram, Boohoo, Amtrak, Zoom, Shop, and IRS2Go. The remaining six apps (BBC iPlayer, BIGO Live, Buzzfeed, Discord, Likke and Shein each share 2% of your personal data with third parties.

The report states that 52% of App Store apps will share your data with third parties. As pCloud says, “Apps collect your data for a lot of reasons. One of the initial reasons for this is to make your experience better, tracking how you interact with them to fix bugs and improve how they work. However, they also use your information to target you with ads across any platform.”



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