The most popular apps on the Play Store show little respect for privacy

In a study conducted and published by Mozilla on February 23, 2023, the organization has highlighted a practice that is, to say the least, misleading towards the users of certain applications. The latter would not meet all the conditions they write on their confidentiality banners.

Publishers exploit the privacy banner to hide their illegal practices

These privacy labels first appeared on the App Store at the end of 2020 and on the Play Store in April. This is a banner that is generally available in the application’s description in the application store. They make it possible to provide the user with information on how their data is collected and processed. Most apps claim that they do not share your personal information with third parties.

In the same category

European Commission officials have ordered TikTok to be uninstalled

Here, TikTok claims not to share personal information with other companies. Screenshot: Play Store.

In an article published by Mozilla, the organization’s analysts noted that its terms of service mentioned practices like the resale of personal information, even though they weren’t included in the privacy banner. Worse, some apps even claim not to share their users’ data in their privacy policy when they say the opposite in their usage policy. In this case, the developers would be playing with the law. By registering this practice in the confidentiality banner, they eliminate all legal problems, since they confirm that they inform their users about the treatment of their data.

To conduct its analysis, Mozilla worked with the 20 most popular paid and free applications from the Play Store. They then compared their privacy statements to the terms of use published on the publishers’ websites. ” Almost 80% of the apps we reviewed had significant discrepancies between their privacy policies and the information in Google’s data security form ‘ say the analysts.

Mozilla advocates creating a transparent data protection form

Among the applications where these differences are most pronounced are social networks such as Facebook or TikTok, as well as mobile games with popular licenses such as Minecraft or GTA San Andreas. Other applications could be better: Google Maps, Gmail, Instagram or even YouTube. Finally, some publish confidentiality banners linked to their rules of use, this is the case with Google Play Games, Candy Crush Saga or Subway Surfers.

Jen Caltridier, project manager for Mozilla, made a clever comparison between food labels and privacy labels offered by apps: ” Misleading data security labels on the Google Play Store give users a false sense of security. Honest nutritional information helps us eat a balanced diet. It’s about time we had honest privacy labels to help us better protect our privacy “.

Mozilla would like Google and Apple to be able to adopt a universal form so that all applications can note all measures taken to ensure privacy. The two tech giants put their full trust in the publishers for the time being, but that doesn’t seem to be bearing fruit. For Jean Caltridier, developers need to take some responsibility when what they announce doesn’t match the reality of things that are happening.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button