Android apps in the test: Experts clearly advise against 3

Deepak Gupta February 16, 2022
Updated 2022/02/16 at 8:38 AM

Please smile! The spread of smartphones not only ensures permanent Internet access or unlimited music enjoyment. Thanks to the obligatory built-in camera, the moment can be captured as a photo at any time. The selfie is particularly popular. And different Android apps are designed to make taking self-portraits even more entertaining. However, they do not come without significant data protection risks.

Dangerous Android apps for selfies

A photo is taken and quickly embellished or provided with funny details – it is not uncommon for images to be edited afterwards before they are sent through the ether. Various selfie apps for Android should help. But in a new test at Mobilsicher, there are great concerns.

The primary concern is data protection. After all, the Android apps analyze your own face to make editing possible in the first place. Biometric features are recorded, from which biometric data for automatic identification beyond the apps can be derived. Not all tested apps show whether such data is generated. But other personal data is also at risk. The focus was on the following apps in their free basic versions, which together have already been downloaded more than 500 million times:

  • Photo Lab image editing
  • YouCam MakeUp: Selfie camera
  • BeautyPlus photo, retouch, filter
  • FaceApp: face editing
  • Perfect365: Face Make-Up
  • Facetune2

Selfie apps tested: photos sold

Those responsible used a so-called AppChecker for the test. This switches between the app and the Internet and can thus automatically record which data the apps collect and pass on. They then gave a rating on a scale from 1 (recommended) to 5 (very high risk).

Basically, one thing is certain: all apps contacted numerous other providers from the areas of advertising, marketing or data analysis. They sent a so-called advertising ID. This allows information from usage to be assigned to a personal profile. The test tool was not able to determine that uploaded photos were actually passed on. However, the data protection declarations of the respective Android apps provide information about the fact that image data is collected and sometimes even resold “on a large scale”.

3 clear losers

At the end there is a special warning about Perfect365, YouCam MakeUp and Facetune2. All three apps achieved a score of 4 (high risk). There are “serious problems that should be fixed urgently”. The testers particularly emphasize Perfect 365: The app is said to have contacted 20 third-party providers. The other apps performed better with a rating of 3 (medium risk). You can see a significant but avoidable danger. However, the applications themselves do not behave unusually overall. You can find more details about the test on the Mobilsicher website.

Finally, the use of a tracking blocker is recommended. As of Android 12, the advertising ID can also be deleted in the Google settings. A personal profile and personalized advertising cannot be created in this way. Then nothing should stand in the way of photo fun. However, you should urgently observe the “no selfie zones”. We also have tips for you for smartphones with particularly good front cameras.

Source: Mobile safe

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