Famous Apps That Invade Your Privacy

Your phone knows almost all things about you such as your location, travel destination, contact list, emails and messages. The same applies to many of the apps you use and some are even much nosier. Let us list the worst apps that you may never imagine how dangerous you put your own privacy to the front line.

1. Facebook

Facebook tracks you everything across its apps and websites and even your log off time. Its app requires almost every permission from you to get the access to:

  • Contact lists
  • Call history
  • Text messages
  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Internal storage
  • Wi-Fi
  • Location

In other words, the app wants full control of your device and claims it’s mandatorily needed for running its functionality properly.

Facebook knows when you log in and how much time you spend on its platform. It tracks where you have been, what you browse, what you purchase and then collects all this data to serve you targeted ads. The company has leaked its user data through numerous breaches which proved that your personal information isn’t secure in their hands.

2. Messenger

Facebook Messenger is even worse because it doesn’t use end-to-end encryption by default and very few users know how to access the secret conversations feature. The app probably stores your personal messages in plain text on their servers, which means there is a possibility that any employee with login credentials can get the data.

Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that Messenger routinely scans all the hyperlinks and pictures you send to your friends. When the algorithm finds them suspicious, moderators read all these messages and block them if they don’t comply with company policy.

It’s true that these measures cease fake news and illegal content from spreading; however, you can’t trust them 100% to only use your information for good. Keep in mind that Facebook:

  • Has always valued its growth more than users’ privacy
  • Has been breached in a few occasions
  • Saved logins in plain text
  • Logged text messages and phone calls without informing the users
  • Requested users for email passwords to spam their contacts

3. Weather Apps

Your fancy new weather app likes to access your location. It may sound pretty logical that it can’t tell the weather if it doesn’t know the location you are now, right?

However, after you grant them the permission, the app tracks your location 24/7 and sells this information to advertisers. Such apps are quite a few, and their names all sound similar:

  • AccuWeather
  • WeatherBug
  • The Weather Channel App

Actually, it’s not just the weather apps you need to worry about. It can be any other app which provides local news or tells about events in your current located city or recommends you about new restaurants. Any of those could also make the attempts to get your information for bombing location-based advertising. There is 0% guarantee that your location information would be dealt with properly. It might be leaked or sold for any purpose.

4. Mobile Multiplayer Games

Multiplayer video games are all about fun based on interaction and players engagement. You solve puzzles, complete quests, get level up, and have fun together with friends and family. However, games like “Words with Friends” collect an horrible amount of personal information. Zynga, which created “Words with Friends”, the famous “FarmVille”, and a lot more successful games, tracks and logs all kinds of personal information:

  • first and last name
  • username
  • biographic age and birthday
  • gender
  • contacts list
  • email
  • in-game purchases and details about the games you play
  • everything players post within the message boards
  • chat history and messages 
  • Facebook ID
  • physical location

Additionally, they use cookies, beacons, pixel tags, clear gifs, and device identifiers to track your data like:

  • IP locations
  • Type of computer or mobile device you use to play their games
  • Operating system version
  • Device identifiers
  • Browser type and language
  • Viewed pages and URLs

You have to provide all this personal information mentioned above or even more just because you wish to play online scrabble. Zynga is not the only popular company in this mobile game industry. In fact, lots of developers track their player information and sell it to the highest bidder. If you’re fortunate, the sold data is depersonalized, but it may not be.

Image by vicky gharat from Pixabay