Tracking company Sensor Tower has been using its VPN apps on iOS and Android to collect data on its millions of users (via Buzzfeed News).
Sensor Tower has an app intelligence platform used by developers, venture capitalists, and others to track usage trends and popularity of apps. Its apps ask the user to install a root certificate which gives it access to all data and traffic flowing into and out of the device.
Sensor Tower claims that it only collects anonymized usage and analytics data. Most of the apps under its control have been removed from the App Store and Google Play Store due to privacy violations.
Randy Nelson, Sensor Tower’s head of mobile insights, said: “Our apps do not track, request, or store any sensitive user data such as passwords, usernames, etc., from users or other apps on a user’s device, including web browsers,”
A tweet from iOS developer Will Strafach in 2019 says companies like Sensor Tower have been doing this for a long time.