Privacy Risks of Virtual Keyboards: Is Bitmoji Safe

Adding spice to your life with a bit of variety is fun, even on your mobile phone. For instance, you don’t have to type all the time when chatting as you can make use of stickers or GIFs to express your reactions. This sometimes expresses feelings no words can. Since the keyboard apps are third parties like bitmoji, its necessary to be concerned. That’s why in this article, we would be discussing bitmoji keyboard app privacy among others.

These keyboards are developed to be unlike your phone’s original keyboard in that they would be faster, intuitive, and entertaining. If you need a keyboard for GIFs, emoji, text predictions, personalized text suggestions, draw to text, swiping to type, or any other features, you can always find one.

Table of Content

1 . Requesting Full Access

2. Why Do Keyboards Request for Full Access?

3. Bitmoji Privacy Concerns

4. Is It Safe to Use Bitmoji?

5. Bitmoji On Android

6. What Data Does Bitmoji Collect

7. What Happens to Collected Data

Since users now require features that original keyboards don’t come with, they download a lot of keyboard apps. In 2017, the most downloaded iOS app was bitmoji, a keyboard app that allows users to add an emoji keyboard and create personalized avatars. This improved user experience and the number of bitmoji downloads surpassed those of even Facebook, YouTube, and even Spotify.

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A major concern about the use of such apps as already stated in the privacy which is now given to a third party. The keyboards could be logging your keystrokes thereby threatening your security and privacy. Is this a thing? Or are we just being unnecessarily paranoid?


Requesting Full Access

Most third-party keyboard apps including bitmoji requests for full access once installed. This request is what troubles the hearts of many users as it seems the app is asking for more than necessary.

With apple, it’s even scarier to grant this full permission as they give you a warning message. You are informed that granting full access permission to a keyboard lets the developer access, record, and transmit whatever you type including your personal and private data. With this knowledge thrown to you, it would seem that by tapping allow you have sold your life to hackers.


Why Do Keyboards Request for Full Access?

Keyboards usually need full access because of an internet connection. Since they are made to be smart, more convenient, and fun, they are required to give you more advanced features like prediction and personalized autocorrect. To do this, they would need to monitor you and collect as much data as they can on your typing pattern.  This process needs the data they collect to be uploaded to a server so, without an internet connection, your new keyboard would just be another regular and boring keyboard.


Bitmoji Privacy Concerns

Bitmoji has a dedicated page where it explains to users the need to grant full access. The following can be found on the page “we ask for full access permission so that we can download your custom bitmoji images from our servers”.

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Since its normal to have users worried about giving complete access, they assure the users by saying “bitmoji keyboard can’t read or access anything you type using your iPhone keyboard or any other third party keyboard”.


Is It Safe to Use Bitmoji?

Technically, it is unsafe to use bitmoji as the app could log every keystroke you make. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything you type could be recorded as bitmoji isn’t a typical keyboard. It all comes down to trusting bitmoji’s word of not stealing your data. There isn’t any reason not to trust bitmoji at this time, but bear in mind however that bitmoji collects more data than just what you type.


Bitmoji On Android

When using bitmoji on iOS, the full access request may not be very clear but on android, it comes in more detail as you download the app from google play store. The permission request calls for concern as the app requires access to the camera, identity, device ID, and call information. This is a bit much and brow-raising as the question remains “. What would a virtual keyboard do with all of these?”. 


What Data Does Bitmoji Collect

This information is contained in Bitmoji’s privacy policy. Bitmoji’s privacy policy is linked to Snapchat’s privacy policy as there is no unique one for the keyboard app. Even though bitmoji is owned by the same company that owns Snapchat, both apps are surely different in their function and purpose. Going by the general privacy policy, the following is the data bitmoji collects:

1 . Information you give

The informant you provide includes the standard information that is required to use the service. It includes unique login details, phone number, email address, and date of birth.

2. Service usage information

Most apps collect data on how users use the apps and bitmoji isn’t excluded here. It collects information about your device, location, bitmoji sending activity, content, phonebook, camera, photos, cookies, and other details that are specific to your device.

3. Information from third parties

Snap. Inc. gathers more than just information from the app. They also collect data from third parties they are affiliated with.


What Happens to Collected Data

The best use of your data to bitmoji is to improve their services, offer you stickers that you love, and make them more convenient for your use. the data collected can also be used to serve you targeted ads especially if you are using both Snapchat and bitmoji, because that’s a means through which snap. Inc. generates revenue.

At worst, your data would be exposed and hackers could steal it. Third-party keyboard apps developers are meant to protect the data of users, but from history, leaks happen and some of them are pretty serious.

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An example of suck leaks can be seen in a recent Ai. type data leak case. Personal data of more than 31 million users was left unprotected on the company’s server and anyone could easily access the data without requiring authentication. This leak was huge because of the sensitive data that was exposed, and the extent. More than 577GB of data were exposed including location, device details, biographical data, and also the email addresses and passwords of users even though A.i was never supposed to learn from email and password fields.

So you see why it’s important that you review a company’s privacy policy to see how your data is being handled.


Conclusion

Original keyboards can be boring, and that’s why users always opt to use third-party keyboard apps to use. these keyboard apps give you features that make typing and interacting with your phone easier and more fun. Bitmoji is such an app that comes with interesting features, but are such apps safe? Bitmoji keyboard app privacy terms state that your data would be safe, but it’s better to be careful to prevent cases of data theft. A VPN like LimeVPN protects your connection to the internet from all apps on your device. So if you are worried about data theft and losses, you need to protect yourself by connecting to the internet through a VPN.

A Complete gamer and a Tech Geek. Brings out all her thoughts and love in writing blogs on IOT, software, technology etc