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Why you might want to think twice before downloading popular selfie app Meitu

Popular photo-editing app Meitu has plenty of enticing features, but it also hoards a bunch of your personal data. Here’s what you need to know about the biggest Meitu problem to date. Should you download Meitu? Read on and find out.

It’s not unusual for apps to require certain permissions, like access to your device’s camera. However, security folk have dived deeper into the permissions required to use Meitu, and it appears to want a lot more than is strictly necessary to beautify your selfies.

Both the Android and iOS versions of the app are also said to be collecting GPS location data and logging IMSIs (unique mobile identifier numbers), as well as being able to see your call, carrier, and Wi-Fi details.

What is Meitu?

The problem isn’t Meitu’s alone, though the paranoia around this particular app may be amped up by the fact it’s developed in China.

Many apps, especially free ones, leverage the data they collect from users for financial gain – devs gotta eat, right? – although the fact that Meitu collect IMSIs is particularly alarming, as it means the app could effectively track all of your web-based activity.

I attempted to reach out to Meitu for comment, but its website is seemingly as sketchy as its data collection practices.

Related: Here’s how Instagram would look on Windows 95


Realistically, there’s no real danger in downloading and using Meitu – Chinese government spooks aren’t going to bundle you off in the middle of the night because of your search history – but for those of us with tighly fitted tinfoil hats (those like myself…) it’s worth knowing exactly what you’re handing over in exchange for a slightly glossier selfie.

Related: MWC 2017

Are you concerned by the amount of data Meitu collects? Let us know in the comments below.

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