More than half of the top 60 Android shopping apps collect users’ personal information through trackers.
A new privacy risk assessment on Opera Max finds that favourite South African sites LetGo and OLX are among the apps with the highest number of trackers.
Opera Max is a data management and data savings app for Android. The 60 most popular shopping apps were reviewed using privacy mode on Opera Max.
Other research shows that personal information such as user’s name, email address, locations, search terms and phone number are shared with third parties through trackers.
Some of the most “leaky” shopping apps, such as Amazon, BestBuy, JC Penney and Newegg, send relatively high numbers of trackers.
The study also shows that as many as 96% of the shopping apps did not use full encryption to connect the apps to their servers. This poses privacy risks to mobile shoppers when they are using these apps.
Personal data can be shared with third parties through trackers on shopping apps or unencrypted http connections over mobile carrier connections. Sensitive data such as bank account numbers and other financial information, which are stored in online retailer accounts or shopping apps, can be intercepted and read by identity thieves via public or unsecured WiFi networks.
“Most people would not reveal their credit card details or full name to employees of a physical store where they live when shopping and browsing for products. But, on mobile apps people are not aware that this kind of information can be shared,” says Sergey Lossev, head of product at Opera Max. “That is why we have implemented privacy mode in Opera Max. We want to educate our users by revealing which apps are sharing your data through trackers without your permission.”
Shopping privacy assessment
These results are from a test on the 60 most popular shopping apps in 10 countries, including Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, the US, the UK and Vietnam. We tested them on WiFi networks and made at least 100 requests within each app by browsing random products. The result was recorded based on what was shown on the timeline of Opera Max’s privacy mode.
The 60 popular shopping apps are: Amazon Shopping, AliExpress, Americanas, ASOS, Avito, Best Buy, Blibli, Bukalapak, Casas Bahia, Chợ Tốt, Dafiti, Deallabs: Bon plan & Code promo, eBay, eBay Kleinanzeigen for Germany, Elevenia, Flipkart, Groupon, Gumtree (South Africa), H&M, IKEA Store, Jabong, JC Penney, JD Sport, KASKUS Jual Beli, Kleiderkreisel, Lamoda, Lazada, Letgo, Lidl, Magazine Louiza, MatahariMall, Mercado Livre, Myntra, Net-A-Porter, Netshoes, Newegg, OkieLa, OLX Indonesia, OLX South Africa, Paytm, Rakuten, Revolve, Sendo.vn, SHOPBOP, Showroomprive, Shpock, Snapdeal, Spree, Submarino, Takealot, Thế giới di động, Tokopedia, Vente-privee, Wildberries, Wish, Yandex Market, Zalando, ZALORA, Walmart.