Dec 05, 2018 06:59 PM

Chart of the Day: Many Apps Are Collecting Way More Information Than They Should

A government-backed consumer rights watchdog has uncovered dozens of apps which it says are improperly collecting or misusing users’ personal information.

The report, published (link in Chinese) last Wednesday, concluded that 59 of 100 apps it scrutinized were collecting users’ location data unnecessarily without saying why. Twenty-eight accessed users’ contact lists in a way that violated the rules.

The apps violated the Personal Information Security Specification (link in Chinese), a rule on the collection and use of personal data that took effect in May.

Forty-two of the apps were found to be secretly sharing user data with third parties.


Graphic: Gao Baiyu/Caixin

The investigation, conducted in early September, examined apps across ten categories including video streaming, online shopping, payments, personal finance and news.

It found beauty app Meitu Xiuxiu and Migu Video — an online video site run by the country's largest telecommunications network operator China Mobile — both collect information unnecessary for the services they provide. Meitu collects users’ bank details and biometric information, while Migu collects their location, phone number, email and bank details.

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (

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