Following the breach of Twitch data last week, a new study has shown Facebook to be the most intrusive iOS app for phone users in the UK, collecting the largest amount of user data among the country’s top 10 most downloaded apps.
The research by the cybersecurity and privacy experts VPNOverview.com, analysed the UK’s top ten most downloaded apps over the past 12 months to discover which access the most data and permissions.
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 Facebook app has been downloaded 10 million times in the past 12 months, which is the lowest number out of the top 10, however, it tops the list as the most demanding for, App Access Permissions, requiring 12 in total, including 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.
Instagram is the second most intrusive app and has been downloaded 16,000,000 in the past 12 months. Users are faced with nine App Access permissions including ‘allow tracking ‘. The app matches Facebook by collecting 14 items of linked personal data and stores information for 90 days after deletion.
The most downloaded app over the past 12 months is Tik Tok, which collects 11 items of the Linked Personal Data – the third-highest total in the list, but has a lower number of App Access Requests, with just six – the second-lowest total on the list.
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In the list, the least intrusive app is the NHS Covid-19 app, with the second-highest number of downloads (20,000,000). It requests the fewest App Access Permission of four and no linked personal data is collected from the user.
A spokesperson from VPNOverview.com commented: ‘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.”
A survey released by the ICO on Information Rights Strategic Plan: Trust and Confidence revealed, that 10% of Brits have no trust at all in companies and organisations storing their data.
The study was conducted by VPN Overview, cybersecurity experts dedicated to helping internet users feel safer and protected online.