Meitu is a Chinese app that’s shot to fame in recent days. But what seems to be an inoffensive app for taking selfies and adding anime filters has a darker side: the app collects some of your private data from its servers, although the reason seems more like a bureaucratic issue than a maneuver of dubious legality.
The alarm bells started ringing when a user tweeted that the app could collect data like your IMEI, MAC address, or internal features of your device as seen in this code extracted from the APK, plus send them remotely to Chinese servers. The developer has responded to the accusations with a press release explaining the need to compile that data in the absence of a third-party tracking system, as it is required to do by Chinese regulations. In other words, because Google is banned in China, the developers themselves have to do the “dirty work.” They at least confirm that your info is completely private and not distributed on any forums.
Still, what’s surprising is that news like this can actually surprise anyone anymore. While we’re talking about Asian software, the UC Browser app, with 9.4 million downloads just from Uptodown and more than 100 million from Google Play, requires more than 50 permissions for its installation. And we found out a long time ago that it was doing similar activities to Meitu and, even more shockingly, distributed that data to third parties.
It doesn’t make much sense to kick up a big stink about all this when we consider that we use these kinds of services every day, whether they’re Chinese, American, or from wherever. They also store all this sensitive data with no shame and we’re all aware of that. These days – in our globalized world of automated mundane processes – private browsing is a utopian fairy tale. In fact, we’ve already verified here at Uptodown how hard it is to unlink ourselves from any service by trying to uninstall all traces of Google from our device. That nothing can liberate our sensitive data from the depths of the web is something we should all get our heads around, and there’s not much any user can do when the day comes that all this data is deployed for illicit purposes.
More info | Android Police