As many as 91 mobile apps among the 100 evaluated ones were over-collecting personal data, said China Consumers Association (CCA) in its latest report.
Users' locations, contact lists and phone numbers are the most common personal information that has been excessively collected or used by the developers, said the report.
The assessment involved a total of 100 mobile apps from 10 categories – social communication, audio-visual display, online shopping, mobile payment, transportation, financial service, tourism and accommodation, news, email and cloud storage, and photo-editing, and found out that apps of news reading, online shopping and mobile payments ranked the top three for respecting users' privacy, while financial-service apps came bottom of the list.
59 apps are suspected of unnecessarily collecting users' location information.
"Apps providing services concerning transportation, tourism or online shopping have reasonable demands for users' location information, based on which they provide products and services," said CCA, but for most apps of the other categories, the location information is not necessary for their services.
Other personal information, including personal photographs, properties, fingerprints, vocation, trading accounts and records, Internet browsing records, and education background, are all over-collected or utilized.
One-third of apps lack privacy policies
China has implemented a national standard on protecting the security of personal information since May, which specifies the requirements on personal data collection, preservation, use and circulation.
However, only 53 apps were rated with qualified privacy policies, and 13 apps off-grade with 34 failing to provide any.
Even big name like Alipay was disqualified as it didn't specify it was collecting sensitive personal information, nor did it distinguish between core and additional functions, misleading users about what information is mandatory.