Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal has put the spotlight on multiple apps, suspected of stealing and leaking users' personal data of users.
Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal has put the spotlight on multiple apps, suspected of stealing and leaking users’ personal data of users. Cybersecurity experts say free mobile and Facebook apps and games you use to kill your time are leaking your data to big firms and putting your private information at risk.
Cybersecurity expert Jitin Jain told PTI that people like to enjoy games like Candy Crush, Chess, Ludo, or other war games like Mini Militia, thinking they are free. But they are not.
The expert cautions that several apps on mobile phones and Facebook use “data harvesting techniques” to take your consent. Sometimes they even resort to tricks for the same.
Jain explained that data harvesting is the process of data extraction for analytics after obtaining “consent” of users.
People should not confuse data harvesting with data theft as both terms are contrary to each other. Data theft is the unauthorized use of the information for commercial or any other purpose.
Experts say that users become vigilant about privacy and validate the terms and conditions before providing any personal information online.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Indian smartphone users spend around four hours a day on mobile apps and Indians downloaded 6.2 billion apps in 2016, up from 3.6 billion in 2015. Such a drastic increase of active users have given rise to data theft which many are still not aware of.
After every app you install, there comes a pop-up window that people normally ignore. This ignoring behavior has proven to be a boon for exploitation of your data. Before validating the terms and conditions, users should read privacy policies of websites and understand how they may use or share personal information in the future.
Your online activities are tracked using web cookies which de-anonymize you and expose you to hackers. Users should use private browsing or browsers with add-ons to block monitoring using cookies.
According to Supreme Court lawyer Pavan Duggal, users should be conscious of what they share online. Duggal argues for dedicated legislation for data protection or data privacy. He told PTI that there are several cases pending in courts where people have suffered from unauthorised access to their data.
The IT Act 2000 also does not have very effective remedies and there haven’t yet seen many successful judgments.