ExpressVPN survey reveals that apps that track their users’ location have 1.7 billion downloads. Trackers can also be found in all types of services, ranging from simple messaging to dating apps. The data collected is notably shared with military and judicial institutions.
Difficult today to imagine a world without application. These accompany our daily life by assisting us in the most basic tasks. We now know the other side of the coin of such dependence: for several years, global awareness of privacy protection grows continuously. The biggest tech companies don’t hesitate to collect users’ personal data, and refuse to give up this practice when they are up against the wall.
An ExpressVPN survey focused in particular on location data collected by applications. The latter’s finding is at least worrying, if not appalling for all those wishing to keep the confidentiality of their activity on the web. ExpressVPN has tracked down “SDK” trackers, responsible for tracking the location of users, within the most popular applications. These count a cumulative total of 1.7 billion downloadss.
Location trackers are everywhere
The iPhones are largely spared, with Apple forcing developers to ask whether or not you agree to be tracked. These are found a wide variety of services, with dating apps, messaging and social networks at the top of the rankings. The surprise is not really there for this last group, this one being relatively transparent on the use which it makes of the data of location of its users.
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Messaging apps own a significant portion of the location trackers circulating to date. ExpressVPN account 42 applications with at least 187 million downloads collecting this type of data. It includes Facebook Messenger, champion in the field, WeChat or Tango, which has 200 million users.
As for dating applications, 64 of them tracking the location of their users have been downloaded at least 52 million times, according to ExpressVPN. However, the latter specifies that the data collected is mixed with that on nationality and ethnicity. In its investigation, the VPN indicates that the applications concerned share their data with judicial, military and surveillance institutions.