This might be a little hard to digest but a recent study conducted by a Spanish organisation called IMDEA Networks Institute has found out exactly that! Whenever you install a new app on your smartphone, it asks permission to access a bunch of stuff on your device. Some of these accesses are necessary for the app to function properly. But most of these apps not only uses the collected data for its own uses, but also sends them to several online usage tracking entities such as Google, Yahoo or Facebook.
The team of researchers developed an app called “Lumen Privacy Monitor”. This app shows in real time which data is being shared by other apps on the phone, how much data is being shared and to whom. The Lumen app has been used by approximately 1600 people thus IMDEA collecting data from 5000 apps. According to them, “We discovered 598 internet sites likely to be tracking users for advertising purposes, including social media services like Facebook, large internet companies like Google and Yahoo, and online marketing companies under the umbrella of internet service providers like Verizon Wireless.”
The study also showed 70% of all apps in use are connected to one of these services or another. Some even connected to more than once. Most shockingly, many of these apps also share unique identification data such as phone numbers and IMEI numbers. Getting these devices specific unique pieces of information makes these advertising firms create a better user profile but also exposes users to a lot of cyber perils.