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  • Writer's picturePhishX

How apps are collecting our data excessively

That social networks are already part of our life, is no secret to anyone, but do you know what terms are accepted by you when downloading these applications? And how is excessive data collection detrimental to your security?

Recently we were impacted with two big news in the digital world, Threads which is an application like Twitter. The company Meta developed it, to compete directly with Elon Musk's social network.

This new platform was so successful that it surpassed one hundred million users in just five days, which is an amazing number. However, after a few days the volume of active users dropped considerably.

Because the last company to beat this record previously, had been ChatGPT that took about 2 months to reach this number.

In addition to Threads, in recent weeks we have been surprised by a flood of photos of babies and pregnant women on our social media. All generated by Artificial Intelligence, through the Remini application.

But what do these apps have in common? They all need your initial acceptance of the terms of use. However, some of these terms may hide a collection of personal information that may put our data at risk.

Why do these platforms need so much information?

The data collected by both are invasive and unnecessary, in addition to going against the LGPD (General Data Protection Law). This information may be used to target ads according to your preferences. In addition, they can be sold to third parties, which also violates data protection laws.

The LGPD is nothing more than a Law created to protect the fundamental rights of freedom and privacy, it defines what personal data is and how some of this information can be used.

Its main purpose is to protect Brazilians from cyber-attacks and punish companies that disrespect these rules. This is a significant issue, which has generated concerns from regulators.

The ANPD (National Data Protection Authority), opened on July 7, 2023, some studies to analyze the treatment of personal data by META, through the Threads platform.

What data is collected and why is it so serious?

When you install Threads and accept its terms of use without even reading its specifications, know that you are providing data and information that goes beyond your name and how many friends you have on social networks.

The list of personal information collected by the platform is above its competitors and even Instagram itself, which belong to the same group.

They are:

  • Purchase history;

  • User Content;

  • Location;

  • Telephone;

  • Address;

  • Email;

  • Contacts;

  • Device fault diagnostics;

  • Search history;

  • Financial information;

  • Identifiers;

  • Usage information;

  • Browsing history;

  • Health and fitness history;

  • Confidential information.

Highlight the last data on the list, where there is no specification of what confidential information this is, which can open loopholes to collect data that even you will not be aware of.

What does the ANPD say about excessive data collection?

The agency acted, due to concerns raised by the press and by experts in Privacy and Data Protection, about these violations of the LGPD.

The allegations are that the platform is treating personal data disproportionately, without any specific purpose, in addition, the collection of sensitive data from people is something that violates the General Data Protection Law.

All this information does not have enough transparency and legal hypothesis that supports the uses of this information, after all users end up being exposed without even being aware of the risks they are running.

Remini and use of photos generated by Artificial Intelligence

Another application that has drawn a lot of attention, is Remini, it uses artificial intelligence to simulate realistic images of pregnant people, their future babies and even how people will look in a few years.

This joke dominated social networks, where thousands of users posted their photos generated through the application. However, what many do not know is that this wave of realistic images would have an extremely excessive cost in terms of data.

Please be aware that by using the platform, you allow it to collect your personal information. This data is sent to partner companies such as storage providers, marketing service providers, as well as advertising platforms.

Therefore, the company has received criticism from experts, who understand this data collection as excessive, being a threat to privacy in people's lives. An application that generates images should not contain this number of permissions.

So, without even knowing for sure, people shared information like name, email address, and phone numbers. All this data is shared with Remini's partner companies, which may use it for marketing and advertising purposes.

Thus, all this data can be stored for at least 10 years on the platform. In this way, you grant that your personal information will remain in the hands of these companies for several years.

Why does excessive data collection violate the LGPD?

When it comes to cybersecurity, it is important to be aware of all the issues surrounding each person's data. After all this is especially valuable information, which if it falls into the wrong hands can have profound consequences.

Among them is the lack of explanation of the need and purpose of obtaining a considerable number of information, since companies need to explain why the data is being collected and for what purpose it will be used.

Another critical point that drew the attention of experts is the lack of specific consent for the use of data with third parties, that is, when your information is made available to other companies.

According to the LGPD, you need to be aware of and authorize this data to be shared and used for advertising purposes, by other platforms or companies, and this at no time is clear to users.

The third question revolves around the "addiction of consent." This expression refers to situations in which if the user does not agree with the collection of data, he is unable to use the platform.

Both Threads and Remini have become fever and influenced people to download the apps, since everyone wants to be part of this game, generating an instinct of belonging.

This makes people not even wonder about the risks, which makes them use the platforms and accept their terms, without even understanding or questioning these infractions.

Europe did not allow Threads linking

The LGPD that the Brazilian data protection legislation, uses as a basis the standards created there in Europe, by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). According to its legislation and all the items in it, Meta chose not to launch its application there.

In addition, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) of Ireland, reported that the launch of the social network has been postponed as it does not follow the rules of the European Union regarding the protection of people's information.

That is why it is so important for countries to be aware of all regulations. Thus, they can leave no loophole so that companies can break laws and norms.

The importance of making people aware of how to protect their information

As much as these social networks and apps are for personal use, it is of utmost importance that people are aware of the danger that these platforms pose to their data.

This information has a strong impact on everyone's personal and professional life. That is why it is critical that people know they are sharing their sensitive information. If they feel harmed, report it to the responsible bodies, such as the ANPD.

Thus, everyone can protect themselves and use these applications with awareness, knowing to what extent companies can collect their information. This facilitates the day to day of everyone, both in their personal and professional life.

Want to know more about how to set up your privacy and security on social networks? Download now our Social Media Security Guide.

Connecting people icon square, wooden block for the media people network concept. In the bottom left corner we have the text "How excessive data collection by the new apps impacts our life"
Find out how new apps have been collecting too much of our personal information

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