Skype, WhatsApp, and Yelp access your data hundreds of times, but nobody knows why


Skype, WhatsApp, and Yelp have accessed my contacts list data thousands and times, and none of the companies are sure why.


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BlackBerry’s Priv, the smartphone maker’s debut Android phone running “Lollipop” 5.1.1, comes with an app, dubbed DTEK, which monitors and notifies users when data has been accessed, when, and for how long, including a user’s location, contacts, text messages, camera, and microphone. It doesn’t, however, actively mitigate an app from accessing the data in the first place.

Over three days, Skype accessed my contacts list 3,484 times. WhatsApp wasn’t much better, accessing my contacts list a total of 2,449 times. (Both figures were accurate at the time of writing.) Yelp, on the other hand, was far lower, yet still significantly higher than any other app, accessing my contacts list 165 times.

That’s not the problem. Your contacts list isn’t just sensitive to you, but it’s also personal information for everyone else on that list. Uploading that data literally thousands of times in just a few days seems more than excessive.

By comparison, Facebook Messenger accessed my contacts list 78 times, Pinterest accessed it 11 times, Dropbox accessed it 8 times. Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, accessed my contacts list just 3 times.

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It’s not clear if the apps simply access the data, or if they upload the data to its servers.

In fact, a Skype spokesperson said (moments after this story was first published) said almost exactly that.

Yelp also uploads contact list data, too — though, it now warns users after it was found to have uploaded users’ contacts data to its servers without their permission.

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