Runkeeper is the latest mobile app to run afoul of privacy advocates

runkeeper ios update social
RunKeeper
Another day, another privacy scandal. It seems as though FitnessKeeper, the company behind the popular Runkeeper app, has been secretly gathering data about its users and selling that data to advertisers. No, not just when the app is active, but in the background as well.

The discovery was made by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) as part of an extensive look at 20 popular apps and whether or not they do what their permissions say they do. The NCC has filed a formal complaints for breaching European privacy laws.

“We were recently made aware of a complaint filed by the Norwegian Consumer Council with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority,” CEO Jason Jacobs told Digital Trends.

“Our users’ privacy is of the utmost importance to us, and we take our obligation to comply with data protection laws very seriously. We are in the process of reviewing the issues raised in the complaint, and we will cooperate with the Norwegian DPA if it has any questions arising out of the complaint.”

According to the NCC, which is a consumer rights watchdog, Runkeeper tracks location data around the clock, then sends that data to a U.S.-based third-party advertiser, Kiip.me. The app was found to be still recording data for a period of up to 48 hours, even when the user’s smartphone was idle.

“Everyone understands that Runkeeper tracks users while they exercise, but to continue after the training has ended is not OK,” said NCC digital policy director Finn Myrstad in an interview with Ars Technica. “Not only is it a breach of privacy laws, we are also convinced that users do not want to be tracked in this way, or for information to be shared with third-party advertisers.”

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely FitnessKeeper will face any serious sanctions in Europe — the company has no European subsidiaries and is entirely based in the United States. As such, European agencies have limited power against it.

Ironically enough, Runkeeper seems to be concerned with its users being honest, having recently tweeted a picture asking “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve thought of while on a run?” with the caption “Be honest!”

As part of the NCC’s investigation, Tinder is also under scrutiny, but no formal complaints have yet been filed.

Updated on 05-14-2016 by Christian de Looper: Included comments from CEO Jason Jacobs.

Virtual Reality

HTC’s stand-alone Vive Focus Plus will be out in April, and it won’t be cheap

The HTC Vive Focus Plus is set to release on April 15 to commercial businesses and developers. The stand-alone headset features the "six degrees of freedom" system, and includes hazard-tracking protection.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders will start April 26, with shipment on May 3

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro is a gorgeous-looking smartphone packed with camera ingenuity

Huawei has kicked off the new year by launching the new Huawei P30 Pro and P30. With upgraded hardware, new software tricks, and some absolutely stunning cameras, Huawei's new phones are serious contenders.
Product Review

4 Lenses, 40 megapixels, and 400k ISO. Huawei’s P30 Pro is a photography freak

Huawei’s P-series phones place an emphasis on the camera. That’s why the company partnered with Leica on the camera tuning. The latest phone is the Huawei P30 Pro, and it must fill the big shoes of last year’s stunning P20 Pro. Is it…
Product Review

Compared to the P30 Pro, Huawei may have stripped too much out of the P30 phone

Has Huawei pulled all the best parts out of the P30 Pro to make the P30, its cheaper, smaller sister phone? Yes, but the answer is more complicated than that. Here’s our look at the 6.1-inch P30.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're after a Huawei smartphone, but can't pick between this year's flagship and the previous two, or maybe you're looking to upgrade, we're here to explain what makes the P30 Pro, P20 Pro, and Mate 20 Pro different.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro vs. Huawei P30: Should you go pro or save some dough?

The latest phones from Huawei are seriously powerful, eye-catching devices, but what sets them apart? We take a look at the Huawei P30 Pro and compare it to the Huawei P30 in various categories to uncover the differences.
Mobile

The 13 best iPhone 7 Plus cases to protect your Apple phone

The iPhone 7 Plus is big and beautiful, but you need to wrap it up if you want to protect it from damage. We’ve rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 Plus cases and covers available. Get some protection or a new style today.
Mobile

Huawei’s Eyewear smartglasses aim to fuse fashion and tech

At its launch event for the new P30 and P30 Pro smartphones, Huawei surprised us with a pair of smart glasses. Created through a partnership with Gentle Monster, these glasses are designed to be stylish and act like a Bluetooth headset.
Wearables

Carbon fiber is making Casio’s new connected G-Shock watches even tougher

Casio, a master of tough watches, has introduced carbon fiber to the construction of several G-Shock models, making them stronger and lighter, and allowing for some interesting design changes too.
Mobile

Galaxy S8 owners on Sprint start receiving the Android Pie update

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.