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Among health & fitness apps, Strava leads in user data collection - Data privacy trends in 100 popular app

December 2023 by Surfshark

Surfshark’s study of 100 popular apps of various categories shows that among health & fitness apps, Strava and Fitbit collect the most data, while Flo tracks the most collected data points across platforms.

Key findings:
• Strava and Fitbit collect the most data points in their category (21 each), while Flo leads in tracking user data, sharing 5 out of 15 collected data points, such as coarse location and product interaction, with third parties.
• Calm and Better Me are next when it comes to user tracking, which each tracks 4 data points across third-party platforms.
• The least data-hungry among health & fitness apps is Noom, which collects 8 data points. However, it tracks user’s emails or text messages.
• On average, health and fitness apps collect 14 out of 32 possible data points, with 93% linked to the user’s identity.
• Out of the 10 analyzed health and fitness apps, only Fitbit did not track any of the data points across platforms, despite collecting the most (21).
• Facebook and Instagram top the list of 100 popular apps based on privacy-invasiveness, collecting all 32 data points defined by Apple.
“Analyzing 100 popular apps on the App Store, we’ve found a concerning trend: nearly 20% of collected data is used for tracking. Such tracked data can be shared with third-party advertisers or data brokers, who use it to deliver personalized ads targeting the users, or aid companies in market research,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark. “Understanding an app’s privacy policy is crucial for safeguarding digital autonomy.”

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