Dozens of popular iPhone apps caught sending user location data to monetization...

Dozens of popular iPhone apps caught sending user location data to monetization firms

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Data privacy is a raging and contentious debate. And ever since the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco and the implementation of GDPR in Europe – which enshrines data privacy as a fundamental right and has provisions for penalty and debarring companies that breach user privacy – there has been an increase in public awareness about recognizing the importance of data privacy. Governments too are not behind and under mounting criticism of the way many companies share user data, there are calls for stronger data privacy regulations in most parts of the world.

TechCrunch reported that a group of security experts believe that many popular iPhone apps are missuing user data for more profits. They are sharing user data with third-party data monetization companies. This makes millions of iphone users vulnerable.

While installing any new app, users are asked that the said
app will get access to many things including location data, but it is nowhere
mentioned that the app might share data with apps or the user has to agree to
it. So this amounts to a breach of privacy.

TechCrunch quoted Will Strafach, one of the security researchers, as saying, “I believe people should be able to use any app they wish on their phone without fear that granting access to sensitive data may mean that this data will be quietly sent off to some entity who they do not know and do not have any desire to do business with,”

Also Read: Two French location data companies get warning for violation of GDPR

As per the security experts, more than 20 popular iPhone apps
were secretly collecting user data and gaining access to information all the
details of the person, location and the places they frequent and the names of their
cellphone networks.

The collected data is sold to other third-party app
developers that keep it in their database and then deliver targeted
advertisements on the basis on a person’s location history.

With the help of this information, companies can understand
what all a person buys and attempt to manipulate his online shopping patterns.
This can even more insidious depending on what all information the app has.

One defining feature is that most of these companies say that
they are accountable at all. They beguile the users and others into believing
that they follow a certain self-regulatory mechanism. Users can’t do much in
the absence of strict monitoring and regulatory norms. But what they can do is
limit ad tracking on their iPhone.

Next month, Apple is about to clampdown on apps that have any
privacy policies or those that habitually breach them. But it is expected that
most of these companies would exploit some loophole and find a way around.
Curbing privacy breach would require new strategies and vigilant users.

How Facebook is attempting to circumvent GDPR