Sensor Tower Accused of Secret Data Gathering
Sensor Tower was accused of obtaining data from millions of users through VPN and ad-blocking apps, BuzzFeed News reported. The media stated the analytics company owned a minimum of 20 apps, including Free and Unlimited VPN, Luna VPN, Mobile Data, and Adblock Focus, without disclosing any connection to them.
Those apps have accessed data on mobile devices after asking users to install a root certificate through an external website, which would let them bypass policies on the App Store and Google Play restricting such privileges. Combined, the apps were reportedly downloaded more than 35 million times.
Apple and Google had removed some of the apps following its investigation, and continued to look into the matter. Sensor Tower told BuzzFeed it only collected anonymised usage and analytics data, which was integrated into its offerings. They kept quiet about ownership for competitive reasons, saying the apps did not gather sensitive data or information which could reveal users’ identities.