Chinese Playing Nosy Parker: Its Apps Seek Too Much Information From Users, Says Security Firm Survey

Be careful when downloading Chinese apps. (Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash)

An independent study by an information security firm has revealed that Chinese digital applications are seeking “excessive information” from consumers. The study on these applications, which are widely used in India, has raised privacy concerns among experts, Economic Times has reported.

According to the report, the study, conducted by Pune-based Arrka Consulting, found that at least six of the 10 most popular Chinese applications, including Helo, Shareit and UC browser among others, ask users to provide access to their smartphones’ camera and microphone even when such access is not required.

Arrka Consulting reportedly studied the privacy controls of 10 of the most popular Chinese apps in India across different categories like entertainment, news and shopping.

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“This is 45 per cent more than the number of permissions requested by the top 50 global apps,” co-founder of Arrka Consulting, Sandeep Rao, was quoted in the report as saying.

The apps that were studied by the firm include Helo, Shareit, TikTok, UC Browser, Vigo Video, News-Dog and UC News among others.

The study pointed out that on an average, these apps transfer data to around seven outside agencies, with 69 per cent of the data being transferred to the United States. TikTok sends data to China Telecom; Vigo Video to Tencent; QQ and UC browser to its parent owned by Alibaba; and Beauty plus to Meitu.

“Beyond third-party data, where the first-party data is going is something that one should be concerned about,” Shivangi Nadkarni, co-founder of Arrka, said in the report.

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