The European Centre for Digital Rights (NOYB), a non-profit organization committed to the legal enforcement of European data protection laws, has recently raised serious allegations against three major companies – Fnac, SeLoger, and Under Armour subsidiary MyFitnessPal. According to NOYB, these companies’ mobile apps engage in unlawful data sharing with third parties as soon as a user opens the app. The shocking part? Users aren’t given the choice to consent or prevent this data sharing.
Upon opening the apps on an Android smartphone, they immediately begin collecting and sharing personal data. This includes Google’s unique Advertising ID, the model and brand of the device, and the local IP address. The aim? Profiling users to show them personalized ads and marketing campaigns that will boost revenue for the three accused companies. This extensive data collection is not only intrusive but also a violation of user rights.
In response to these allegations, NOYB has urged CNIL, the Data Protection Authority for France, to order these companies to delete all data that has been unlawfully processed. Given the gravity of these accusations and the potentially huge number of individuals affected, NOYB also suggested that these companies be fined. All this is done under the European Union’s ePrivacy Directive, which only allows access or storage of data on a device if users give “free, informed, specific, and unambiguous consent.”
The worst part? This issue isn’t isolated to just these three companies. NOYB points out that this is symptomatic of a larger issue in the mobile apps environment. Many apps, despite having millions of users, don’t bother complying with EU privacy laws and freely share private data with third parties, including ad brokers. It’s high time we start taking our digital privacy seriously!