Nearly seven months after first launching its latest fleet of services to the public, a nonprofit privacy watchdog, The International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC) claims that the fertility app Premom has reportedly taken to sharing data to three Chinese firms without obtaining user consent.
IDAC is an organization that works alongside applications and developers, as well as monitoring such creations, to preserve and uphold user privacy.
The Washington Post states that the nonprofit privacy group brought the matter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last August 6, 2020, as well the attorney general of Illinois, maintaining that Premom violated probable state and federal laws due to the data-sharing incident.
IDAC points to the unethical data-sharing practices as the basis for the possible violation not only of both state and federal laws but also of Google’s rules and regulations, states the Verge. The nonprofit privacy organization also states that the users’ lack of knowledge and inability to track practices make for a strong case.
Among the information being tracked and shared by Premom to Chinese firms include user location, other apps installed within the device, and unique device identifiers related to the consumer device utilized by the user, which could provide other companies access to user-generated activities across other websites and programs, reports IDAC.
According to the International Digital Accountability Council, the popular fertility app Android program was found to collect and share a wealth of user data to Chinese companies specializing in advertising content, reports The Washington Post.
The Verge reports that IDAC has identified the three Chinese companies involved in the incident. The three firms include Jiguang, Umeng, and UMSNS. E-commerce giant Alibaba is said to be the owner of one company, Umeng.
In a statement, president of IDAC, Quentin Palfrey said, “There’s pretty extensive and sensitive data collection going on here with respect to a large number of users who don’t have any reason to know about this data collection.”
“It’s particularly concerning when we see this behavior with respect to an app that’s targeted at women trying to become pregnant,” continued Palfrey.
As of writing, Premom has assured its public that it “prioritizes the safety of its users’ data above all, and is constantly evaluating its policies, procedures, and use of third-party tools to ensure the application is compliant with global data privacy laws,” via an email by its spokeswoman Desiree Moore.
The company also told The Washington Post that it has since removed Jiguang’s access to its platform and that it is not currently in partnership with the two remaining Chinese firms. It also maintains that it is in compliance with the regulations in place.