Android, iOS: uninstalled apps can now track you with specific ads

It’s official, uninstalled apps can now track users with specific ads!

Android and iOS applications can now make use of uninstalling crawlers: programs that detect and identify an application you have uninstalled. The market is booming and, although they are currently mainly used to create statistical information, these tools will soon enable developers to offer specific advertising inserts to users to ask them to reinstall the application. Major publishers, such as Spotify Technology, are starting to use it.

Announcements may soon appear everywhere that you had just uninstalled an application. The Android and iOS apps are already real personal data vacuum cleaners, but it was pretty easy to find peace: only one small uninstall and you’re done! But that could change very quickly: developers can now identify it through an uninstall tracker, even after uninstalling an application. The market is booming and includes names like AppsFlyer, CleverTap, MoEngage, and Localytics, among others. And great customers, such as Spotify.

Android: from now on applications can track you even when you uninstall them.

The primary purpose of these trackers is currently to collect statistical data, for example, feedback from users after an update or other changes. But as our Bloomberg colleagues point out, they have many other potential purposes, such as targeted advertising, without any protection to prevent it. These tracers to work as discreetly as possible use a feature that is not well known to the general public, but which is at the heart of Android and iOS systems: silent push notifications. Developers have always had the opportunity to use this feature. For example, to update conversations in applications such as Facebook Messenger.

What’s new is that tracers divert the mechanism to track the user explicitly. When an application stops sending a ping, the app is considered uninstalled, and the plotter associates the user’s unique identifier with this uninstallation. “Data that makes it easier to identify the person holding the phone and allows you to advertise the uninstalled application, wherever it goes,” says Bloomberg. Who points out that the practice violates de facto Apple and Google policies – even if the applications that currently use these plotters are not yet pushing the ads in the event of uninstallation?

By collecting this data, these analysis tools create files about users and their behavior, which is usable at will.What do you think about the emergence of uninstallers? Is there anything to worry about? What about privacy and user options?

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