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Are Mobile Apps Sharing Your Data?

Mobile apps are convenient—but do they respect your privacy?

You probably already know that data gets collected every time you use apps on your mobile devices. This is just one way that app developers and companies are able to customize your experience and make the app easier to use—but are you aware of how much data they collect that actually gets shared with outside companies?

According to Incogni, a data removal company, based on their recent examination of the Google Play Store’s data section—more than half the apps available openly admit to sharing user data.

How much more than half? 55.2% of the 1,000 apps investigated shared user data.

What happens when it’s out of your hands

Sharing data, such as crash logs, app interactions, and shopping histories is common practice in the industry—it’s normal and helps to improve marketing. But Incogni also discovered that a handful of the apps shared far more sensitive user information, including location history, names, addresses, email addresses, and precise locations—in some cases, they even shared photos and in-app messages.

Typically, most of the data collected is anonymized before it’s shared with third parties, such as marketers or data brokers—but, technically, this kind of data can be shared with anyone. And the dirty little secret is that, in many cases, there are ways to re-identify anonymized data—meaning it can be traced directly back to you.

What you can do about it

Be careful about the apps you download and make sure you only use the apps you need. Fortunately, the percentage of apps that misuse data is small—but it’s worth noting that free apps are seven times more likely to share your data than apps you pay for.

Want to know more?  Horizon is here to help!

At Horizon, we value our role as your trusted advisor when it comes to making the most of our internet services and keeping you safe online.

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