Travel apps hoarding data

…..  An investigation of the data that the five most popular travel apps harvest

The inspiration of this article was from incredibly popular app “Meitu” that creates an “anime file” of your face. It’s been downloaded a billion times. There are fears of what data Meitu stored on its users.

It’s scary to see the data it collects and the changes that it makes to your device. This becomes even more important as Australia has recently relaxed data collection and storage laws significantly in the favour of those collecting data.

So we did some research into five popular travel apps and reviewed their extensive terms and conditions. At no stage are we at all suggesting this is illegal as users give permission when installing the app. At no stage are we suggesting data is at risk. We are simply stating publicly available facts.

Nearly all of the apps track your name, email address and physical address alongside other detail such as your passport, credit card details and cross-reference with age and other demographics.

A summarised table of permission is below

Identity

Contacts

Location

Call log

Images/Video

Storage

Camera

Hotel Tonight

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

modify/delete

yes

Trip Advisor

can remove accounts

yes

yes

yes

read & delete USB

yes

Skyscanner

yes

yes

read & delete USB

Tripcase

yes

yes

yes

read & delete USB

read & delete USB

yes

Expedia

yes

yes

yes

read & delete USB

read & delete USB

 

If you install and use the app you are giving it permission to change accounts and remove data on your device as well is control the camera.  By installing this app, you are instantly sharing your address book with a multinational.

Can you imagine turning to a whole stack of your friends and saying “I just gave away your contact details to 4 different travel companies”.  But that’s what you can happen every time one of these apps is installed. You sell out your friends contact details

What they do with your data includes:

  • real-time geographic location of your device
  • Sharing it with third-party vendor’s
  • requesting feedback and sending product and service information
  • send targeted advertising based on your location and demographic information
  • share it with referring websites
  • post on social media on your behalf

Do you want seasoning really scary?

You might not even own the phone in your hand

Be afraid, be very afraid

 

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