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Over half of Indian sites provide Google with data collected through trackers: Report

Over half of Indian sites provide Google with data collected through trackers: Report
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Over 50% of Indian websites share the data collected through trackers with Google, with Facebook coming in a distinct second, collecting about 10% of all website trackers, a new report revealed.  

Almost all (97%) websites in India use Google trackers while 55% use Facebook trackers. Trackers can be defined as tags on websites and phone applications that collate data on a user’s online preferences and habits. These trackers send the collected information to companies such as Google and Facebook, who in turn share it with advertisers. 

Android phones are no exception to trackers, with 42% of android apps sharing the data they collect to Google, Facebook comes in second by collecting about 25% of all tracker data in android devices, data privacy company Arrka said in a report.    

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In Recent months more regulations on usage of consumer data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation and country specific privacy laws have made consumers aware of how much data they are actually putting out there.   

Also read: Data leaks from within become chief concern for cybersecurity

How much power are we giving our mobile applications?   

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Around 68% of Android applications and 69% of IoS applications have access to our cameras. It gets even worrisome with respect to our locations with 74% of android applications having access to our “precise” locations. Precise here meaning that the app could potentially track your movements down to a meter. Fun fact, before the Android 12 release, all location permissions on Android apps were utilising our precise locations, now Google has gone the apple way to provide two options, one for precise and another for approximate locations, which can track you in a 100-meter radius.   

However, the report found that more than half (56%) of IoS apps took access to phone location even when the application was not in use.   

Another recent study on ride-hailing applications by VPN provider Surfshark showed that Uber collected the third biggest number of data points, while Ola stood at the ninth place out of 30 ride-hailing applications on IoS devices. However, another local ride-hailing app, Rapido, collected the least amount of data, according to the study.   

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How does India compare to other geographies?   

Around 54% of Indian applications accessed our microphones, while only 34% and 30% accessed the same in the US and European Union respectively. Indian websites were found to use eight third-party cookies on an average, while the number was just two for European Union websites.   

Another stark difference is how the companies are transparent to the data they collect. In a readability score, a rating which calculates how easily the common user can decipher privacy notices of companies, showed that India clocked a dismal 31/100, which the report said was half of what was considered acceptable according to International readability standards.  About 59% of privacy reports were classified as difficult to read, while 39% were tagged as “very confusing”, leaving 1% of surveyed privacy reports under the “failry difficult” to read category.   

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The study was conducted on over 201 organisations, across their desktops, android and IoS devices, 100 of these were Indian organisations spanning 25 sectors, and 72 from the US and Europe.