Report says certain Android apps send Facebook personal data without obtaining consent

Your phone may be talking to Facebook even if you don't use Facebook

Your phone may be talking to Facebook even if you don't use Facebook

User data shared to Facebook by these apps include analytics, Android ID, and many others.

Privacy International conducted the study and found that at least 61% of apps they tested send this data to Facebook.

This means cracking down on how companies like Google and Facebook use and sell the data they collect on their users. It added that Facebook should also make it easier for people to exercise their data rights on all "personal data that Facebook stores, whether they have a Facebook account or not".

A worrying number of popular Android apps share user data with Facebook without user consent, new research from Privacy International shows (via Financial Times). It's possible that the app could still be using an older version of Facebook's developer kit. It's also created detailed reports for all of the apps that transmit data to Facebook immediately when the app is opened.

Facebook and its leadership are coming under intense scrutiny at the moment amid ongoing concern about the tech giant's handling of user data.

The list of apps found to share data with Facebook without consent includes Kayak, MyFitnessPal, Skyscanner and TripAdvisor, the report explains.

The findings of the investigation raise questions about Facebook's transparency when it comes to handling user (and non-user) data, and the privacy implications of profiling by the social networking behemoth - particularly in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The time of the search, the departure and arrival city, the airport, the date, and the number of tickets searched for were all diligently sent over to Facebook for... reasons. Under the new regulation, mobile apps can not collect or share a user's data without their permission.

Here's the worst part: Staying off Facebook doesn't protect you from this. Facebook could use this data, later on, to serve ads based on some highly specific demographics.

This happens regardless of whether the person even has a Facebook account, and if they do, the offending apps still transmit data when the user is not logged into Facebook. Looking at this information, even if your name is unknown, your religion, health, gender, activities, interests and routines can be determined.

"For example, an individual who has installed the following apps that we have tested, "Qibla Connect" (a Muslim prayer app), "Period Tracker Clue" (a period tracker), "Indeed" (a job search app), "My Talking Tom" (a children's" app), could be potentially profiled as likely female, likely Muslim, likely job seeker, likely parent'. Privacy International has tested both opt-outs and found that they had no discernible impact on the data sharing that we have described in this report. The update also does not even disable the SDK initialization message in question and the apps are still sending data.

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