In a recent study, the privacy experts at pCloud examined the so-called privacy labels in the App Store to identify the apps that process the most user data. The object of the investigation was not only to find out which apps use information for their own internal purposes, but also those that share their information and data with third-party providers. pCloud is a Swiss-based provider of cloud storage solutions with over 10.5 million users worldwide.

Here, it is understandable that data is collected in order to improve their own app. This includes, for example, the analysis of errors or crashes in order to fix them in updates. This use of data is often in the interest of iPhone and iPad users. It becomes more critical, however, when the companies resell the collected user data in order to finance themselves with it.

52% of apps for iPhone and iPad share information with third-party providers.

The research results have been summarized by pCloud in an overview. You can view the overview here: https://blog.pcloud.com/invasive-apps/

Among other things, this overview is about apps that share the collected data with third-party providers. The information includes, for example, purchases, location, contact details, search and browsing history, financial details or health and fitness data – so it is definitely about very sensitive data.

The TOP 3 data octopuses according to pCloud:

1st place goes to ➞ INSTAGRAM

– Instagram collects 79% of personal data, and the app is only sparing with the information in a few categories.

2nd place goes to ➞ FACEBOOK

– At 57%, Facebook shares significantly more than half of all data with third-party providers.

3rd place goes to ➞ LINKEDIN

– LinkedIn shares 50% of its data with third-party providers, which somewhat surprisingly includes user content, which at LinkedIn includes the account holders’ own posts.

Also notable is that 6th and 7th place go to YouTube. In 6th place you find YouTube and in 7th place YouTube Music. It is interesting to note that YouTube’s listener data is also shared with third parties. In total, YouTube shares 43% of its customer data.

In 10th place is eBay, although it is impressive to note here that eBay also shares all of its data about auctioned and purchased items with third-party providers. In total, eBay shares 36% of its customer data with third-party providers.

So users of these apps need not be surprised if, for example, they see ads for potential purchases in other apps again and repetitively flowing in on them. It should always be taken into account that the apps also communicate with each other.

Which apps do not pass on data to third parties

At the other end of the scale of iPhone and iPad apps, however, I also find some positive surprises! These are apps that don’t share any or very few details with third parties, and thus don’t share any data that could be used by third parties for marketing purposes.

Surprisingly, they also include well-known companies, such as.

NETFLIX

SKYPE

and ZOOM.

Also in this category are:

Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Telegram and the relatively new Clubhouse.

Thus, sharing customer data with third parties does not seem to be a mandatory requirement to establish a profitable business model on the Internet!

Apple’s new Privacy Data Labels

But it’s not just third-party providers that use users’ data; Apple’s own apps also have access to personal information.

By implementing its own privacy data labels, Apple is pursuing a transparency strategy that makes the transfer and use of data to third parties transparent for the user.

Click here for the Apple guidelines: https://www.apple.com/de/privacy/labels/

Apple intends to introduce these transparency guidelines in a few weeks with the delivery of IOS 14.5 for all apps in the App Store. It should come as no surprise that this is currently meeting with fierce resistance – especially from Facebook.

Conclusion

I think that this strategy by Apple is definitely conducive to more effective data protection – in essence, ensuring transparency in the use of personal data.

This should make it easier for users to see and decide how their data is used and distributed, and whether or not they want to use the app in question.

It is at least another small step on the way to ensuring the transparency of the processing of personal data against the economic interest in the use and exploitation of personal data by the large international Internet corporations, which is as unlimited as possible.

This post is also available in: German