Apps with privacy issues that you must avoid at all cost


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Google Play Store and Apple App Store do all they can to keep malicious apps out of their stores. However, developers of these apps devise new means of collecting users’ data. Imagine a music streaming app asking for permission to make changes to your camera or phone log. These are malicious means that some apps use to get information from users.  In China, these tactics are very common. Recently, the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center has monitored and found that 17 mobile apps have privacy violations. These apps violate relevant provisions of the “Network Security Law” and “Personal Information Protection Law”.

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Below are different groups of apps and how they violate users’ privacy. These apps are mostly in China but some global users make use of Chinese apps, so it’s good to check the list.

1. Withholds information from users

These apps do not inform users about the type of personal information they collect. They also do not inform users of the storage period of the apps they collect. These are apps with privacy issues and violations. There are four apps that violate this, the applications are

  • “DUSHAOFEI” (version 3.1.1, app treasure)
  • “Seeking” (Version 3.5.1, Pea Pod)
  • “Le Ye Sky” (Version 2.9.20, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Dolphin Home” (version 2.9.7, Baidu Mobile Assistant)

2. Do not show users’ privacy information

These apps fail to expressly reveal their user’s privacy rights. As such, users do not know whether the app is collecting private information. These are apps with privacy issues and violations. The 15 apps that violate this are

  • “Truck Helping Driver” (version 8.27.4, App Store)
  • “Full of Shippers” (Version 7.27.4.0, App Store)
  • “DUSHAOFEI” (version 3.1.1, app treasure)
  • “Reloaded Battle Girl” (Version 1.34.0, TapTap)
  • “Magic Records Magical Girl Madoka Gaiden” (Version 2.1.10, TapTap)
  • Ski Adventure (Version 2.3.8.14, Pea Pod)
  • “Seeking” (Version 3.5.1, Pea Pod)
  • “Fen Meng Diary” (version 2.3.8, pea pods)
  • “Mathematics in the Wheat Field” (version 3.5.9, Pea Pod)
  • “CC Live” (Version 3.9.16, Anzhi Market)
  • “Hengdian Movie City” (Version 6.5.2, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • Kuan (Version 12.3.2, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Su Xiaotuan” (version 3.7.3, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Le Ye Sky” (Version 2.9.20, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Dolphin Home” (version 2.9.7, Baidu Mobile Assistant)

3. Collects personal information

These apps get users’ information without notifying the user of the type of information it collects. These are apps with privacy issues and violations. There are six apps violating this, the applications are

  • Ski Adventure (Version 2.3.8.14, Pea Pod)
  • “DUSHAOFEI” (version 3.1.1, app treasure)
  • “Hengdian Movie City” (Version 6.5.2, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Seeking” (Version 3.5.1, Pea Pod)
  • “Le Ye Sky” (Version 2.9.20, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Dolphin Home” (version 2.9.7, Baidu Mobile Assistant)

4. Collects user’s info before requesting permission

These apps actually collects users personal information before requesting for users consent. Ths means that even if you decline, it means nothing. One app is doing this, the applications are

  • “Seeking” (Version 3.5.1, Pea Pod)

5. Difficult to make changes

These applications work more or less like a trap. Once you are in, you have no way out. They fail to provide effective functions for correcting or deleting personal information. Furthermore, these apps make it very difficult for users to cancel or delete their personal accounts. Even if it is possible to delete the account, the app set unreasonable conditions for cancelling user accounts. These are all in violation of users’ privacy and freedom. There are four apps doing this, the applications are

  • “Weatherlink” (version 7.68, 360 mobile phone assistant)
  • Ski Adventure (Version 2.3.8.14, Pea Pod)
  • “Seeking” (Version 3.5.1, Pea Pod)
  • “Su Xiaotuan” (version 3.7.3, 360 Mobile Assistant)
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6. Pushing indiscriminate commercials

These applications are strongly commercial. They push indiscriminate information and commercial marketing to individuals through auto decision-making systems. Furthermore, these applications fail to provide options that are not in tandem with their personal characteristics. Also, these apps do not offer users a convenient way to refuse. Of course, all of these are in violation of the user’s privacy. The apps doing this include

  • “Hengdian Movie City” (Version 6.5.2, 360 Mobile Assistant)
  • “Fen Meng Diary” (version 2.3.8, pea pods)

7. Processes user’s personal information

These apps proceed to process sensitive personal information of their users without any sort of consent. Thus, the users do not even know the type of information that the app is processing. In fact, they do not even know the type of processing that the apps are doing. There are seven applications in this, the apps include

  • “Sina Finance” (version 3.9.34, pea pods)
  • “Truck Helping Driver” (version 8.27.4, App Store)
  • “Full of Shippers” (Version 7.27.4.0, App Store)
  • “Reloaded Battle Girl” (Version 1.34.0, TapTap)
  • “Magic Records Magical Girl Madoka Gaiden” (Version 2.1.10, TapTap)
  • “CC Live” (Version 3.9.16, Anzhi Market)
  • “Le Ye Sky” (Version 2.9.20, 360 Mobile Assistant)

8. Malhandling of underage users’ information

These apps are very carefree when dealing with information about underage users. There are no specific guidelines on how the apps process information from young users. When handling the personal information of minors under the age of fourteen, no special personal information processing rules are available. These apps are not complying with privacy provisions. The apps are

  • “Sina Finance” (version 3.9.34, pea pods)
  • “Le Ye Sky” (Version 2.9.20, 360 Mobile Assistant)

The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center reminds users that they should be wary of these apps. The agency is warning users (especially in China) that they should download, install and use these applications with caution. Furthermore, when dealing with any of these apps, it is important for users to carefully read the user agreement and privacy policy description. It is important that users do not open or agree to unnecessary privacy rights. Furthermore, do not enter personal privacy information at will, maintain and clean up related data regularly. All these are necessary to avoid the leak of users’ personal privacy information. If you want to be on the safer side, uninstall the app immediately from your device if you have any of them.

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