Widespread use of smartphones has given rise to a situation where development of apps becomes a great source of income. Big tech companies across the globe like Google and Microsoft try to better understand their customers by using specially tailored apps.
However, a new study has revealed that most of the popular Chinese apps are collecting users’ personal data such as location, contact lists and even mobile numbers saved in the smartphone.
Chinese Apps Collecting Users’ Personal Data
According to media reports, Chinese Consumers Association conducted a study on 100 top-ranked Chinese apps. Alarmingly, the study revealed that 91 out of 100 apps were collecting excessive user data without users’ consent.
Most of the apps reviewed in the recent study were from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. These included Aliplay from Ant Financial Services, bike-sharing platform Ofo, photo-editing app Meitu and messaging apps such as QQ and WeChat from Tencent Holdings.
The study concludes a really dangerous and alarming situation where small-scale apps do not have proper privacy guidelines or rules. The report states:
“The problem [of excessive data harvesting] is especially severe among smaller app providers, which have no privacy clauses or provide unreasonable terms.”
It is worth mentioning that the findings of the study have surfaced when market leaders are found increasing their efforts to collect data that can be used for their initiatives regarding Artificial Intelligence in the years to come. Interestingly, the theft or breach of users’ data is being done in the name of ‘better understanding their customers’.
With the public becoming sceptical about the practice, a question arises as to whether there is going to be any regulation on data harvesting in China or not as China does not comply with Europe’s GDPR set of regulations that are made specifically to tackle this issue.
Earlier this year, China’s tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu underwent severe questioning over their data harvesting practices in Mainland.