Monday, September 10, 2018

Many iOS apps caught selling localization data to marketing firms

With increasing number of iOS apps on the App Store it is becoming a source of concern that if Apple users and their personal data are safe from these apps. There was a recent report says that Apple removed a popular Mac app called "Adware Doctor" after it was confirmed it was sending user data to a Chinese server, comes word that dozens of popular iPhones apps are sharing location data of “tens of millions of mobile devices” with monetization firms.

Many iOS apps caught selling localization data to marketing firms

Now a new research made by  GuardianApp Project, all of the apps identified collect user location data to work correctly, such as weather and fitness apps. In this case, they’re using this received data to increase revenue.

The researchers explain:
 In order to gain initial access to precise data from the mobile device’s GPS sensors, the apps usually present a plausible justification relevant to the app in the Location Services permission dialog, often with little or no mention of the fact that location data will be shared with third-party entities for purposes unrelated to app operation.
In total, GuardianApp lists 24 examples of popular or well-known iOS apps that collect user data and then hands it off to a third-party, including GasBuddy,, MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar, and PhotoBucket.

Beyond this, there’s not much you can do. As Will Strafach, one of the researchers at the project told TechCrunch:
    None of these companies appear to be legally accountable for their claims and practices, instead there is some sort of self-regulation they claim to enforce.
If you are trying to stay safe and looking for a possible solution to avoid getting your personal information slips away, I recommend you to limit ad tracking on your iOS device by going to  Settings app under Privacy and scroll to the bottom and select Advertising. Turn on “Limit Ad Tracking.” Beyond this, the best you can do is delete the app.


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