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An online security firm has found that thousands of apps using code written by the Chinese internet giant Baidu are sending unencrypted sensitive data to the company.
Citizen Lab found that Baidu’s mobile browser, Baidu’s Windows browser, apps built using Baidu’s software development kit and other Baidu apps were all affected.
The affected apps are thought to have been downloaded hundreds of millions of times.
The apps transmit unencrypted data to Baidu, including a user’s location, what websites they’d visited and what search terms they’d used.
A spokesperson from Citizen Lab commented on the findings, saying: “It\'s either shoddy design or it\'s surveillance by design.”
Baidu has admitted that it collects the data for commercial purposes, but has refused to say if it is sharing the data with other companies.