Are You Really Going To Install That? [KitBits 17.2]

If you’re at all active on social media there’s a very strong chance you saw a few fancy anime up selfies floating around in your feeds recently. These are made using an app called Meitu, which has mushroomed in popularity in the west over the last week or two.

There’s a lot more to Meitu than initially meets the eye though. As well as providing some amusing distraction and the chance to tinker with Donald Trump’s face, the app hoovers up a lot of personal data from the phones it was installed on. An awful lot. Then it sends this information to the app maker. Then the app maker is probably sharing that information with quite a lot of third parties.

Meitu isn’t even a small independent app maker. It floated on the Hong Kong stock exchange last month and is valued at more than $4 billion. Of course, even small app makers can make a tidy amount of money by selling your data to other companies thirsty for personal data.

Why Should You Care? What Should You Do?

Whether by accident or design, many apps ask for permission to access far more personal information than they need. You have no way of knowing where that information goes after it has been whisked off your phone and onto someone else’s servers.

Visit the app maker’s website. There should be links to this provided in the various app stores. If there are no links to a website or no privacy policy, don’t install the app.

  • Read the privacy policy.
  • Check the terms and conditions.
  • Watch what permissions every app asks for when you install it and ask yourself if it really needs access to all of that information.

If you’re in any way uncomfortable with any of these, don’t install the app.

Read More

+ ‘The Meitu selfie app unlocks your anime beauty and personal data’, engadget

+ ‘Megaviral Meitu “beauty” app’s data grab is anything but skin-deep’, Ars Technica

+ ‘Meitu is the hot new Millennial app – that’s stealing all your data’, The Memo

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[Image credit: Tom Sodoge on Unsplash]

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