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A Few Days Until GDPR, SafeDK Releases New GDPR SDKs Related Benchmarks: Over 72% of Mobile Apps are Vulnerable to SDK-Related Data Violations; 63% of Ad Network SDKs Access Private User Data

SafeDK analyzed recent data from hundreds of thousands of top Android apps and from over 1000 popular SDKs. Factors studied included access to users’ private data by 3rd party SDKs, the type of private data requested, and more.

SafeDK, the leading mobile SDK management and ad intelligence solution, is releasing new, GDPR SDK-related benchmarks. These numbers complete the data shared in SafeDK’s last Mobile SDKs Trends Report from March 2018.

SafeDK has also released earlier this year the world’s first mobile app GDPR compliance online guide. The guide is based on SafeDK expertise gained after monitoring hundreds of top SDKs, reaching over 100 million MAU (monthly active users) and working with the world’s top app companies.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into effect in May 25, 2018, is the EU’s new set of regulations designed to secure user privacy. According to GDPR guidelines for mobile apps, “Mobile publishers should assess the data processing features of a third party component or a third party service before integrating it into a mobile application.” To help clarify the great magnitude of the issue, SafeDK is now releasing in-depth insights about the data processing of the 3rd party SDKs currently integrated into the top mobile Android apps:

Over 71% of all analyzed apps still use at least one SDK that is accessing private user data, making them susceptible to violations as a result.
34% of all analyzed SDKs access private user data through the mobile apps into which they are integrated. This number climbs to over 63% for ad network SDKs.
Over 52% of the top 20 mobile SDKs analyzed access users’ private data.
15% of the examined SDKs access private user data without acknowledging this openly in their formal documentation. All these SDKs are piggybacking the app’s user permissions to access private data covertly from both the app publishers and the end users.
Chart of the percentage of apps that are using SDKs that are accessing different kinds of private user data
Chart of the percentage of SDKs that are accessing different kinds of private user data

Given that the average Android app implements over 18 SDKs, according to the report, the entire industry should not overlook the implications of using 3rd party SDKs, which can often be “black boxes” in terms of accessing and mining private user data.

Orly Shoavi, SafeDK’s CEO cautions that: “The industry players, mobile apps and mobile SDKs still have time to prepare, but they should definitely act quickly. Not meeting requirements may result in severe consequences, while complying with the GDPR is feasible if implementation is carried out optimally. While it’s relatively clear for app developers how to control their own codes, it’s almost impossible to ensure that external SDKs remain compliant without using a dedicated SDK management solution, such as SafeDK.”