Guide to find out what data your apps collect

There is no surprise that almost every app is collecting information about the user.
Some of them, really need the data to operate properly but some don’t: for example, a navigation app requires your positioning information in order to build the route for you.

The problem is that some apps may abuse your trust by stealthily collecting information unrelated to their app’s functionality and by selling your data to third parties.

Here is a guide on how to track them back and see what they are doing with your app:

Use AppCensus
The AppCensus service helps you find out what personal data apps collect and where they send it.
AppCensus keeps an eye on your apps to see what data is being sent and to whom.
AppCensus analyzes only Android apps — and only those that are free and public.

Move to Exodus Privacy
Exodus Privacy is different from AppCensus because it studies the apps, not their behavior.
At first, it analyzes the permissions an app requests, and it looks for built-in trackers.
For the moment Exodus Privacy recognizes more than 200 types of trackers.

Both services are very easy to use. With a simple search on the app’s name, you can easily get the information about what data it collects and where the data goes.
For example, let’s look at a selfie camera app with 5 million downloads. Exodus Privacy shows that the app uses four ad trackers and demands not just access to your camera, but also your device location, which is not strictly necessary for it to operate ( only to add geotags to EXIFs of the pictures it takes), as well as your phone and call data, which is differently unnecessary for this kind of app.

AppCensus discovered two more concerns: the selfie camera doesn’t just get access to your phone or tablet location, but it also sends this information, along with the IMEI, MAC address, to a Chinese IP address without encrypting it.

Also surprising is that in their privacy policy the developers of this app the developers claim they collect no personal data about the user and do not store ore give your location away.

This is how you can protect yourself:
Do not just install apps for no reason. They can spy on you, even if you never use or open them.

Delete apps you no longer need
Do not grant apps all of the permissions they ask for only the one that they really need