A UK company that sells people’s location data admitted that some of its information was obtained without asking users for permission.
Huq uses app location data on people’s phones and sells it to customers, which includes dozens of British and Scottish councils.
He told the BBC that in two cases his app partners had not asked for user consent.
But he added that the problem had been solved.
In a statement, the company said it was aware of two “technical violations” of data privacy requirements.
But he added that he asked both of them to “rectify their code and republish their apps,” which they had done.
“Huq data is used anonymously. However, consent is a fundamental pillar of data collection and must be taken seriously. We strive to ensure that consent is explicitly requested by all of our app partners. In case of violation, we always act quickly, “said Conrad Poulson, CEO of Huq.
Kaibits Software, who developed one of the apps in question. he admitted that there had been “permission issues” but now they have been fixed. The second app developer did not respond.
Huq did not rule out the possibility that other apps have failed to ask for proper consent. “It is possible that we or our partners will discover future technical problems, but what is important is how quickly we act and how seriously we take the problem,” the company told the BBC.
The apps in question – one that measured wi-fi strength and another that scanned barcodes – had been highlighted in a story published by Vice. He questioned how clear it was to users that apps they downloaded for one purpose shared information for an entirely different one.
Huq advertises a range of services on its website, promoting how its “real-time traffic metrics” can be used “to find out where people are going and why.”
So, for example, a municipality could use the data it provides to estimate how many people have visited a high street in a given amount of time.
AppCensus, a company that analyzes app privacy, looked at the apps Huq did business with. He found that those for flight tracking, weather and Muslim prayers were among those sending information to the company.
Co-founder Joel Reardon told the BBC: “Searching through a dozen apps that include Huq, I’ve noticed big variations in how users are communicated as their GPS location tracker, along with information about their Wi-Fi router. Domestic fi., Is collected.
“If users are expected to read countless privacy policies, then I believe these should at least be an accurate description of what is actually going on,” he said.
According to the analysis by Danish TV2, Android apps are much more likely to broadcast location data than those on iPhones.
Google told the BBC it was investigating.
Companies that collect location data from apps and then sell them are under greater scrutiny. The Danish data authority is currently examining whether there is “a legal basis” for the way Huq has handled personal data.
Meanwhile, the UK Information Commissioner’s office has issued a reprimand to another UK-based location data collector, Tamoco, for “failing to provide enough privacy information to UK citizens. “.
He told the BBC that he had asked the company to “review the personal data collected to ensure that UK citizen data is no longer processed and any remaining records should be erased.”
In 2019, Norwegian broadcaster NRK bought raw position data from Tamoco for £ 3,000. For this commission, he received 460 million lines of data from over 140,000 phones and tablets. While this did not contain names or cell phone numbers, it did offer detailed information on the movements of the people which allowed the broadcaster to discover the true identities of the people.
It allowed them to track people down, in what reporter Martin Gundersen described as “scary details”.
The data showed a man on his way to the hospital and a job interview. Another, a member of the army, recorded his movements from one military base to other places.
The BBC asked Tamoco to comment.
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