Temu, the shopping app, is under scrutiny by American authorities. Accused of being a harmful malware, this Chinese application raises significant concerns about the security of our data.

With over 75 million monthly users, Temu has emerged as the new giant in online shopping. The app proudly sits at the top of downloads on both the App Store and the Google Play Store. However, beneath this commercial success lies a much darker reality. Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin doesn’t mince words: “Temu claims to be an online shopping platform, but it’s a dangerous malware.”

The accusation is severe: Temu allegedly “surreptitiously gains access to virtually all of a user’s mobile phone data,” as reported by The Verge. This practice eerily resembles that of Pinduoduo, another app by PDD Holdings group, which was removed from the Google Play Store in 2023 due to security issues.

A Spy in Your Pocket?

The allegations don’t stop there. As per the complaint filed in Arkansas, Temu is said to have the ability to hack users’ phones and bypass privacy settings. The app gathers far more data than necessary for a simple shopping platform, including sensitive or personally identifiable information.

Even more concerning, Temu allegedly employs deceptive techniques to obtain permissions. For instance, by requesting location access to upload a photo, the app would actually attain permanent access to that data. The complaint goes as far as accusing Temu of “stealing” permissions to access the device’s audio and visual recordings.

One might think that the United States is exaggerating once again, but concerns have also been affecting Europe and certain Asian countries for some time.

Blatant disregard for European regulations

Europe is also involved in this matter. UFC-Que Choisir, a consumer advocacy association, has filed a complaint with Arcom, the French digital regulator.

The issue at hand doesn’t comply with the Digital Services Act, the European regulation on digital services. Specifically, the app is under scrutiny for its lack of sufficient information about sellers and product compliance with European standards. What’s more troubling is the alleged use of “dark patterns,” deceptive interfaces designed to manipulate consumers into spending more than intended.

Furthermore, concerns are raised about minors’ protection on the platform. Temu reportedly doesn’t mandate age verification for access to its service, potentially exposing young users to inappropriate content or aggressive commercial practices.

Just like with any app, it’s wise to review the permissions granted to the application, be cautious about sharing personal information, and utilize secure payment methods. Our advice would be to steer clear of this app… the small savings it offers likely come at a much higher cost than you might realize.

According to an article by Frandroid.

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