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Twitch data breach: Apps users should be wary of

The interest in app downloads is reflective of how app users feel about sharing personal information.

Major banks, airlines report online outages
Most of Australia's major financial firms reported customers could not access websites and mobile apps for a period on Thursday - Copyright AFP Saeed KHAN
Most of Australia's major financial firms reported customers could not access websites and mobile apps for a period on Thursday - Copyright AFP Saeed KHAN

Following the Twitch data breach, analysts have identified various issues with popular apps. This review finds the Facebook App is the thirstiest for personal data, collecting the most data among the most popular downloaded apps. Instagram is the second in the list, followed by Zoom

Of interest, when UK apps are examined, the NHS COVID-19 app is the least intrusive app compared to others that make up the UK top 10.  The research comes from the cybersecurity and privacy experts VPNOverview.com.  

The study measured three key privacy indicators: App Access Permission Requests, which enables an app to access and control selected features of a phone, Data Retention, which specifies how long the personal data used by an app is stored after the lawfulness of original business purpose expires; and Data Linked to User- data collected in a way that is linked to a user’s identity.

The review discovered that the Facebook app has been downloaded 10 million times in the past 12 months, which is the lowest number out of the top 10. Despite this, Facebook is the most demanding software for App Access Permissions, requiring 12 in total. This includes user’s contacts, microphone, allow tracking and Bluetooth.

The app also collects more items of personal data than any other in the top ten, numbering 14 in total, including financial information, purchases, search history and user content. In addition, the app is among three, along with Google and Zoom, that store users’ personal information the longest after they have deleted their account, a full 180 days.

With the top 10, the data shows:

APPS COLLECTING USER DATA (UK)
APPDownload Volume in past 12 months (Million)Phone Feature App Access RequestsPersonal Data Storage After Deletion (Data)Linked Personal Data Collected
Facebook101218014
Instagram1699014
Zoom1991806
Tik Tok2263011
WhatsApp181109
Snapchat1011309
Google Meet1261809
Microsoft Teams1410307
YouTube129012
NHS Covid-19204210

VPNOverview.com told Digital Journal “The interest in app downloads is reflective of how app users feel about sharing personal information. It is however evident that users are still willing to use app features even at the expense of their personal data.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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