Security practices of apps in the Google Play Store
|Brittany Hainzinger in Apps Monday, September 26, 2022|
Incogni revealed the key findings from their analysis on the privacy and security practices of apps on the Google Play Store, using the top 1000 paid and unpaid apps. According to the results, 1 in 2 apps share your data with third parties, data-sharing occurs most with shopping apps, and much more.
Data removal company Incogni analyzed the top 1,000 paid and unpaid apps available on the Google Play Store to discover the apps’ privacy and security practices.
Key privacy findings:
- 1 in 2 apps (55.2%) share your data with third parties.
- Free apps share, on average, seven times more data points than paid apps.
- The worst category in terms of data-sharing is “shopping,” where apps share an average of 5.72 data points.
- Social media apps collect the most data, with 19.18 data points collected on average, but declare to share only 3 data points on average.
Key findings of security practices on apps in the Google Play Store:
- 4.9% of apps admit to not encrypting data in transit. This makes your personal information vulnerable to data breaches.
- Less than half declare that their data is encrypted in transit.
- Only 13.1% of apps are committed to following the Play Families Policy.
- Only 0.8% went through an independent security review.
- 10% of apps on Google Play declare outright that the personal data they collect cannot be deleted.
- And only 39% of apps actually provided a way for you to request data removal.
The study highlights that free apps share an average of 7 times more data points than paid ones. The same goes for popular apps (with more than 500,000 downloads), which share, on average, 6.15 times more data points than less popular apps. Altogether, this data confirms the common belief that free apps aren’t free: you pay with your data.
The biggest offenders when it comes to categories are shopping and social media apps. Shopping apps share the most data at 7.71 data points on average per app. Meanwhile, social media apps collect the most data, with 19.18 data points collected on average, but declare to share only an average of 6 data points. Whether social media apps are completely transparent remains to be researched.
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