Temu App Under Fire for Aggressive Data Collection Practices: Reportedly Sending User Data to China

Allegations against the fast-growing shopping app Temu is going viral. It is accused of secretly harvesting user data and sending it to servers in China. The accusations come from a report by research firm Grizzly Research.

Grizzly Report Claims Mass Data Collection by Temu

According to the report, Temu’s Android app aggressively collects device data like phone model, MAC address, wireless network names, and precise location. This data is allegedly encoded in JSON format and transmitted to Chinese servers.

The report claims Temu’s data collection goes far beyond what’s needed for normal app functionality. It accuses Temu of employing tactics commonly used in malware, like self-recompiling code and detecting if the app is being analyzed.

Grizzly Research says Temu is linked to Chinese firm Pinduoduo. Pinduoduo’s app was previously removed from the Google Play Store for malware issues.

Redditors Share Mixed Reactions to Report

The Grizzly Research report on Temu was shared on Reddit’s forum. Reactions were mixed, with many noting Grizzly has a financial interest in negatively impacting Temu.

Some redditors picked apart the technical claims made in the report:

“This report is completely clueless and poorly written from a technical perspective,” wrote one user. “Things like the camera locations aren’t in the Android Manifest, so they can’t be used at all unless requested.”

However, others found the report convincing:

“It sends home a lot more info than that though and it allegedly has the ability to compile packages on the user side of things which would open up a whole new level of attacks,” another user responded.

Overall, redditors urged caution about trusting the report from Grizzly Research too readily. Many compared Temu’s practices to data harvesting by US firms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

Steps to Limit App Data Collection

Regardless of the validity of the Temu allegations, users can take steps to protect their privacy:

  • Carefully review app permissions before installing. Only allow access to data an app truly needs.
  • Avoid connecting app accounts to social media or contacts list. This gives apps access to your wider network.
  • Use antivirus software to scan for spyware. Programs like Malwarebytes can detect data exfiltration behavior.
  • Run apps in “isolated” or “work profile” modes that limit access to other data on your device.
  • Routinely clear app cache/data and uninstall unused apps. Don’t let them persistently run in the background.

Ongoing Controversy Warrants Caution

Given Temu’s Chinese ownership, aggressive ad strategy, and technical capabilities exposed in the report, users should be wary of the privacy risks.

While the accuracy of Grizzly’s specific claims is up for debate, the app clearly demonstrates problematic data collection practices.

Until Temu is more transparent about how it operates and secures user data, skepticism is warranted. Sticking to more reputable apps is the safest approach for now.

This ongoing controversy highlights the importance of being proactive about app permissions and securing your devices against unwanted surveillance.

The Peace of Mind of Shopping on Amazon

Rather than gamble on the security of new e-commerce apps like Temu, consumers should consider sticking to tried and true platforms like Amazon. Though not perfect, Amazon has a long track record of protecting user data and financial information. Their massive investment in security offers peace of mind for shoppers.

Of course, Amazon doesn’t offer the rock-bottom prices found on some newer apps. But those prices often come from cut corners or even unethical practices. The small premium paid shopping with Amazon brings security and quality assurance for goods and delivery.

For shoppers concerned about privacy, Amazon remains the safest choice. Their longstanding commitment to customers’ trust is hard to beat.

Who is Grizzly Research?

Grizzly Research is a short seller research firm that publishes reports on publicly traded companies. The firm was founded in 2021 by an anonymous team of former investment bankers and analysts. Grizzly Research has published reports on a number of high-profile companies, including Playtika, Archer Aviation, and Pinduoduo.

Grizzly Research has been praised for its in-depth research and its willingness to take on controversial targets. However, the firm has also been criticized for its aggressive tactics and its use of anonymous sources.

It is difficult to say definitively whether Grizzly Research has a good track record of research. The firm has published a number of reports that have been accurate and have led to significant declines in the stock prices of the companies targeted. However, Grizzly Research has also published some reports that have been inaccurate or misleading.

Overall, it is fair to say that Grizzly Research is a controversial research firm with a mixed track record. Investors should carefully consider the firm’s reports before making any investment decisions.

Here are some examples of Grizzly Research’s reports and the subsequent stock price movements:

  • Playtika Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: PLTK): Grizzly Research published a report in February 2022 alleging that Playtika was a “piggy bank for Chinese insiders” and that its stock price was artificially inflated. PLTK’s stock price fell in the days following the report’s publication.
  • Archer Aviation, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHR): Grizzly Research published a report in August 2023 alleging that Archer Aviation was a “lame duck” and that its stock price was based on unrealistic expectations.
  • Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ: PDD): Grizzly Research published a report in September 2023 alleging that PDD’s shopping app TEMU was “cleverly hidden spyware” that posed an “urgent security threat to U.S. national interests.”

It is important to note that these are just a few examples, and Grizzly Research has published reports on a number of other companies. It is also important to note that stock prices can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, and it is impossible to say definitively whether Grizzly Research’s reports are the sole cause of any stock price movements.


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