Privacy Alert: Popular Retail Apps, Including Nike and Victoria’s Secret, Caught Overstepping Boundaries
Heads up, online shoppers – those handy retail apps might be quietly amassing way more than your clothes size. A new study of 180 popular shopping apps uncovered some seriously overstepping data collection. We’re talking private photos, videos, sexual orientation and precise locations in the hands of apparel giants.
So why the digital patdown? The research firm behind the report, Incogni, wanted to empower consumers with transparency around what they’re really surrendering for app convenience. Let’s just say the findings warrant reading those pesky privacy policies.
The worst offenders? Major brand apps like Nike, North Face and Victoria’s Secret. Over 30 – yes, 30! – were found to grab exact GPS coordinates. And a super sketchy six, including Nike and Zalando, gathered data on users’ sexual preferences.
But it gets worse. A whopping 45 apps total vacuumed up photos and 12 captured videos. We’re talking full-on Nykaa to Vinted to Meesho. Shopping for clothes is one thing, handing over your camera roll is quite another.
The researchers also found apps fishing for installed app lists, web histories and contact books. A handful even tapped SMS data, credit scores and voice recordings. No stone unturned, it seems.
Now Incogni chalked much of this up to aggressive advertising. Almost 60% of the data points were shared for marketing purposes. Info like names, emails, purchase histories and addresses were commonly trafficked to third parties.
The goal here isn’t shame, but awareness. With 29% of data tied to basic app functionality, consumers deserve to understand where personal lines get crossed. If an app needs your microphone to help you shop, wouldn’t you want to know?
So next time you’re prompted to enable camera or location access, consider what’s actually necessary. Convenience comes at a cost, but sacrificing privacy shouldn’t be the price of business.