It is no secret that smartphone apps accumulate large amounts of user data and that this data is used by advertisers. However, a new report in The New York Times details just how specific and precise that data can be. While firms insist that they are interested in patterns, not individuals, this report explains how data from apps can be used to identify individuals, without their consent. Hedge funds, as well as advertisers, are among those who purchase the information generated by apps. The Times has a lot more detail, but here’s a taste:
More than 1,000 popular apps contain location-sharing code from such companies, according to 2018 data from MightySignal, a mobile analysis firm. Google’s Android system was found to have about 1,200 apps with such code, compared with about 200 on Apple’s iOS.