Google Play Is Full Of Apps That Secretly Track Users, Says Study

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Some of the most popular apps available on Google’s Play Store have tracking capabilities, leaving users’ privacy very vulnerable, according to a recent study.

Apps like Uber, Spotify, and Tinder, just to name a few, contain third-party tracking codes, meaning personal information of users is collectable, and can be subsequently used for advertisements and services. More than 75 percent of the roughly 300 apps analyzed contain these trackers, according to the study conducted by Yale University’s Privacy Lab, and Exodus Privacy, a nonprofit based in France.

It wasn’t just the large proportion of apps that was concerning, as “perhaps more disconcerting is the potential impact of advertising trackers on the finances and healthcare of users,” reads the press release from Yale University. (RELATED: Uber Will No Longer Track You After Your Ride Is Over, Says Report)

The study also delved into some of the specific tracker companies.

“FidZup, for example, has developed ‘communication between a sonic emitter and a mobile phone … by diffusing a tone, inaudible to the human ear, inside a building [FidZup] can detect the presence of mobile phones and therefore their owners,” the release continues.

While the analysis didn’t include Apple’s iOS apps, the researchers cautioned that the results could be similar for the competitor.

“Many of the same companies distributing Google Play apps also distribute apps via Apple, and tracker companies openly advertise Software Development Kits (SDKs) compatible with multiple platforms,” reads the synopsis.

Google removed approximately 300 apps from its Play Store earlier in the year for giving people the ability to conduct distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, a cyber weapon often used in recent years and months. (RELATED: Android Phones Could Get Hacked Because of Wi-Fi, Says Report)

Google did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by time of publication.

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