While Google and Bing are the most popular search engines in most English-language countries, Russian-language speakers use Yandex. Last month, the Financial Times reported that Yandex's Appmetrica, a "real-time ad tracking and mobile apps analytics solution" which is integrated into Android and iOS apps, has the ability to send a user's metadata to a database accessible by the Kremlin.
The largest tech company in Russia, Yandex has a market share of 61.9%, with Google being the second most commonly used search engine with 28.3%. While the company has said in the past that they are strict about approving government requests for data, it does state that only 21% of requests are actually rejected.
So, what uses Yandex's Appmetrica? How would Americans be affected?
Well, about 52,000 Android and iOS apps and games use it. According to the Financial Times, since the war began Appmetrica has been added to "2,000 apps."
According to AppBrain.com, which looks at individual apps' integrations, Appmetrica is packaged with 9.48% of the top apps on the Google Play Store, including one of its most popular casual games, Bubble Shooter. Another app, "Mi Video," a video player, has over 1 Billion downloads.
Privacy watchdogs have called on both Google and Apple to address their concerns and to give users a better look at what exactly they might be installing on their devices.