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ZD: Baidu’s Android apps caught collecting sensitive user data

Sat November, 2020, Age: 3 years

Two Android applications, Baidu Maps and Baidu Search Box, were removed from the Google Play Store in October after researchers from the U.S. cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks found evidence that the apps’ data collection code collected details such as  phone model, MAC address, carrier information, and IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) numbers. The research team said that while the collection of personal user details was not specifically forbidden by Google’s policy for Android apps, after they reported the issue to Google, the Play Store security team confirmed their findings and “identified [additional] unspecified violations” in the two Baidu apps, which eventually led to the two apps being removed from the official store on October 28. Baidu Search Box was restored to the app store this past week, and Baidu representatives say the Maps app will also return to the Play Store after developers have fixed the reported issues.