back to article Viral Chinese selfie app Meitu phones home with personal data

The Meitu selfie horrorshow app going viral through Western audiences is a privacy nightmare, researchers say. The app harvests information about the devices on which it runs, includes invasive advertising tracking features and is just badly coded. But worst of all, the free app appears to be phoning some to share personal …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    That's a selfie of Darren?

    1. Reghack Pauli

      'fraid so, though it's a selfie put through the app's beautify skin pasting filter and then the 'handdrawn' one which gives it the anime crazy eyes that everyone's posting.

      The reality is much worse:

      https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/810970471189516288/9HAKG0Ez_400x400.jpg

  2. Mark Simon

    Say what … ?

    “This app I pretty benign to what could have been done.”

    Speaking of Chinese, is this something caught up in translation or is it supposed to make sense?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Say what … ?

      I was trying to read it as a haiku, but got nowhere.

    2. Reghack Pauli

      Re: Say what … ?

      Yep - typo - it is benign. He's saying the app devs could have trojanised it or something similar, but chose to limit it to raiding data for advertising instead.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an app

    Of course is harvests your data. That's the primary purpose of "apps".

    Some of them have marginally useful secondary functionality too.

  4. Mage

    Sad truth of Android

    Many applications that shouldn't be, are communicating no-one knows what to no-one knows who. Eating your data allowance and privacy. Several apps inc. Kindle ereader put up error messages, even when you have not run them since last power on, when data is disabled.

    Many versions of Android (even on things still being sold) don't allow any disabling of permissions. Many don't even properly inform you what is happening. Android TV on so called "smart" TVs is particularly bad.

    * Only install Apps you REALLY REALLY need.

    * Disable all Data when not explicitly wanting Internet

    * Creatively use alternate versions of Apps that don't communicate (Calibre on Mac, Windows, Linux etc can take a remove DRM plug-in that uses your own Kindle serial number, then your /phone tablet can use any eReader app, even an ePub one.

    Don't use eBooks using Adobe DRM. It contacts Adobe.

    Don't use stock Android or Chrome Browser, but use Firefox on Android phone/Tablet.

    Don't use ChromeOS or Chrome Browser on Windows, personally as I'm not Chinese, the Chinese security people rather than Google knowing everything might be preferable? However I avoid that too.

    This is hardly news. Very many big name USA companies Apps do this.

    1. Christian Berger

      I'd go further

      Don't use any local apps on your device.

      root it, install VNC and mosh, use iptables to make sure it'll _only_ talk to your server, and run everything of your own server.

      There is no even remotely "secure" mobile device out there. The most secure ones you can get at the moment are the Pocket CHIP and perhaps the Pyra in the future.

  5. inmypjs Silver badge

    Do not trust apps from Chinese developers

    They have no ethics and you have no chance of redress if you do get abused by them.

    Oh and look closely because they will try not to look Chinese.

  6. razorfishsl

    it is only the thin end of the wedge.

    Go look at some of the translation apps.

    then there is QQ......

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