A research paper from a team at the University of Oxford has revealed the extent to which apps share data with developers, ad firms, and ultimately the parent companies of these data-reliant companies.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, sits at the top of the list, with 88% of apps starring data with Alphabet-owned businesses. These range from Google itself to Firebase, Adsense, Admob, YouTube, and Blogger.
Facebook comes a distant second, with 42% of apps found to share data with the social network. Twitter follows with 33%, then it’s U.S. mobile carrier Verizon with 26%. Verizon owns Yahoo, Flurry, Flickr, Tumblr, and AOL among others.
One researcher told the BBC, “I don’t think there’s any notion of control,” when commenting on the results.
Google responded to the report, saying:
“Across Google and in Google Play we have clear policies and guidelines for how developers and third-party apps can handle data and we require developers to be transparent and ask for user permission. If an app violates our policies, we take action.”