What is Gathering? Shopping apps and sites are now a source of privacy concerns

By avi maxwel / in , , , , , , /

Meet Photo Illustrations
A laptop keyboard and Temu logo displayed on a phone screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on March 27, 2023.

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

TORONTO (CNN/CTV) — A shopping app that didn’t exist four months ago might be changing the game of e-commerce, however, experts say it’s also raising concerns about data privacy risks.

Garnering conflicting customer reactions throughout Canada and the US, Temu has been making waves on social media platforms over the last two months. The one-stop-shopping service recently became one of North America’s most downloaded free apps on both the App Store and Google Play, thanks in part to its reputation of offering steep discounts on a vast assortment of products, along with opportunities for credit incentives through encouraging sign-up offers.

However, one cybersecurity expert warns that Temu, like any e-commerce app that doesn’t fall under Canadian data protection laws, could present a risk that more shoppers should evaluate.

“Within the last year or so there has been increasing concern about spying from foreign states,” Fred Nerenberg, a senior cybersecurity consultant at a Canadian security firm, told CTVNews. ca over the phone. “But when it comes to people’s data, you are forfeiting your personal information and your browsing habits and your interests to a company that may or may not have ties to foreign governments where that data would be subject to ownership by those foreign states,” he explained.

Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings, is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has subsidiaries primarily registered in China—meaning it could be subject to regulation by Chinese authorities. This is according to a report by the US-China Economics and Security Revision Commission (USCC), which warned that the company’s Chinese ownership raises concerns about cybersecurity, data privacy, and national security concerns.

But how could online shopping present such a digital threat?

“You’re essentially at the mercy of what those companies are doing with your data,” Nerenberg explained, referring to the wide net of data collection these e-commerce services cast. “I think what they choose to do with it is sort of up in the air. It’s under a different jurisdiction.”

Nerenberg said “quite a bit of information about your clientele” can be inferred based solely on browsing habits.

Apps like Temu, he said, can collect metadata that reveals how long customers have looked at certain products and how many times they visited certain pages. This can be used to build data profiles that allow companies to precisely target people with ads that feature products they will be more inclined to purchase.

Nerenberg says the threat could apply to all e-commerce services with international distribution.

According to Forbes, Target once figured out one of its teenage customers was pregnant before her father did, based on her online browsing data.

“These companies could theoretically build those with the same profiles. So it’s no different than the companies here, but how is that information being used by foreign states?”

Temu is an off-shoot

Read more


All the Reasons To Start Grocery Shopping on the Stores’ Apps

By avi maxwel / in , , , , , /


For people who are used to grocery shopping the old-fashioned way — with paper coupons in hand instead of a smartphone — the digital age of couponing and shopping apps can feel a bit overwhelming. Now, not only do many grocery stores have their own apps and loyalty programs, but there are dozens of savings apps all claiming to help consumers find the best deals. But do they really?

View Our List: 100 Most Influential Money Experts
Learn: How To Build Your Savings From Scratch

There is definitely money to be saved. GOBankingRates spoke with experts on all the reasons why you should want to start grocery shopping on your stores’ apps.

Stacking Coupons and Coupon Matching

Shopping apps are well worth their time to get up to speed on them, according to Tasia Boland, a frugal living expert who keeps the blog The Frugal Farm Girl. The primary reason behind searching for coupons on store apps and websites is to save users a significant amount of money.

“One of the most effective ways to maximize savings is by stacking coupons and using coupon match-ups, which are when you are stacking a sale price with a coupon. Or you can add an app like Ibotta and Fetch to the stack,” he said.

She recommends using coupon blogs in addition to apps to achieve this stacking effect, such as The Krazy Coupon Lady and Hip2save.

more: 6 Best Items To Buy at Aldi This Summer

Add Manufacturer’s Coupons, Too

Boland said that in addition to the in-app coupons specific to a grocery store, consumers can pair these discounts with any manufacturer coupons. In her neighborhood, the main grocery store is Tops Market. “The Tops store coupons are typically for savings on their own brand, which is a great deal considering that store brand items are less than name brands.”

However, take the membership-only warehouse chain Sam’s Club for example. “They now offer exclusive discounts in the Sam’s app when you use their ‘Scan & Go.’ These savings can be used when items are even on sale. BJ’s Wholesale Club is another one starting to offer exclusive app-only coupons. Again using these extra coupons on top of BJ’s store coupons is a great saving.”

When you are able to stack two coupons on one item, most of the time you are looking at a 50% discount. Combining multiple discounts on a single product allows users to get the best possible price, Boland said. “Many store apps and websites make it easy to identify these opportunities, ensuring that users never miss out on a great deal.”


One of the most obvious advantages to using grocery shopping apps is convenience, said Carlos Barros, Director of Marketing at Epic Now, a cloud-based software provider for electronic point of sale. “Having your phone and handy apps allows you to access information, compare prices and make informed decisions on the go. You can easily check product reviews, ratings, and specifications to ensure

Read more