Shanghai Consumer Group Stops Three Map Apps From Snooping

Shanghai Consumer Group Stops Three Map Apps From Snooping

Xu Zuwei & Liao Shumin

Date: Fri, 07/20/2018 - 11:44 / source:Yicai
Shanghai Consumer Group Stops Three Map Apps From Snooping
Shanghai Consumer Group Stops Three Map Apps From Snooping

(Yicai Global) July 20 -- Baidu Map, Amap and Tencent Map have decided to stop accessing personal information unnecessary to the functioning of their mobile map apps, after their exposure by Shanghai’s semi-governmental consumer watchdog, state media The Paper reported.

The Shanghai Consumer Council released the results of its evaluation of five mobile map apps that accessed personal information on July 18, which shows several of these require sensitive permissions not relevant to their use and do not provide one-time permission choices for users.

The council called for stricter regulations and standards to be instituted as soon as possible, and demanded that app developers get rid of unneeded sensitive data access permissions. Shanghai Consumers Council recommended offering a ‘one-time permission’ option for sensitive information that closely relates to personal privacy, such as contacts and text messages, to better protect consumer privacy.

Amap, Baidu Map and Tencent Map submitted written reports yesterday on the issues the evaluations found.

Amap is urgently removing the relevant permission request, and a new version will be released today, it said. This will cancel all permission requests relating to user privacy data, including mobile phone contacts.

Baidu Map will remove its ‘share’ function in follow-up versions after internal assessment, and thus no longer solicit permission when users send text messages. It will also add a ‘one-time permission’ option and will keep fine-tuning it in follow-up versions for sensitive permissions that closely relate to personal privacy, such as contacts and text messages.

Tencent Map’s share function in the old version needs user permission to access contacts. That function is now offline. The platform has already stopped requiring permission to access contacts and will cancel this feature in subsequent versions.

The consumer group also urged Sougou Map and Mapbar -- which did not attend the July 18 news briefing -- to mend their ways.

Editor: Ben Armour

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Keywords: Amap, Baidu, TENCENT, map, User Privacy, Shanghai Consumer Council