The ‘Weather Forecast’ app on various Alcatel smartphones appears to collect an unhealthy amount of user data. For example, your e-mail address will be forwarded to China.
Alcatel weather app collects personal information
After users open the app, they keep a variety of user data in the background. Although it is a relatively simple weather app, location data, e-mail addresses and the identification number of your smartphone are collected. The collected data is then forwarded to China, reports The Wall Street Journal. The business newspaper is based on the findings of a British security agency.
Weather Forecast – World Weather Accurate Radar, as the full name of the app is, has been developed by TCL. That company makes, among other things, Alcatel, BlackBerry, and Palm smartphones. From reviews in the Play Store, it appears that the app is also included on various Dutch Alcatel smartphones, and can not be removed by users. We have asked Alcatel Benelux for a response, but have not received it for the time being.
Most weather apps only need to know your location, to tell you what the weather is like in your area. Weather Forecast, however, seems to link this location data to your phone and e-mail address. This makes it possible for the developer to follow individual users in theory. Why TCL and Alcatel collect the data exactly is unknown.
Alcatel’s twitch-like apps
It is not the first time that a supplied app from Alcatel weather app is discredited. For example, in early 2018 the company suddenly installed the Candy Gallery app on many users’ smartphones. It then turned out to require authorization for sending text messages, personal information about your accounts and information about your Wi-Fi connection. Users who did not issue authorization did not have access to a working Gallery app on their smartphone.
Not much later, the Calculator app of Alcatel also appeared to have cures. At first glance, it was a normal calculator, but as soon as users asked for Scientific Mode, a requirement for a positive review appeared. Only if users click through to the Play Store to give a review, the app will function normally again. In the meantime, both apps have been replaced with ‘normal’ applications on most Alcatel smartphones.