Over the past couple of days, you might have seen several of your friends posting their creative shots from the mobile app called Pitu. It’s entertaining to see how one can be transformed into a certain character instantly by just uploading a photo. No need to learn the technicalities of Adobe Photoshop and other licensed photo-editing software. Pitu just made it so easy for everyone. But, at what cost?

Several IT security experts already shared their views on the rising popularity of the Chinese app in the Philippines. IT Engineer Patrick Jhan Fababeir commented in Facebook that Pitu does more than just editing a photo. If you’re keen enough to check the settings of the app, you’d notice that it could record audio, access your location, access your phone details and even read your phone’s logs which may contain private information.

Another concerned netizen shared the same sentiment and was even called out by other Pitu users for just merely scaring people about the danger of using the app. As IT Administrator Jano Cochon said, “Just because it doesn’t cost money doesn’t mean it’s free.”

It may not be as glaring as most malicious apps could be, but isn’t it scary to share these details to an application that presents itself as a photo app? Come to think of it, why does it need to have these permissions when its purpose is just to edit your photos, right?

Even in China, Pitu has been a subject of privacy concerns. Just last month, Tencent, the app’s developer, released an official statement over concerns that users’ photos or personal information may be used by the company for their promotions. While the company denied these allegations, it would be foolish for us Filipinos to turn a blind eye against this innocent-looking app just because it’s entertaining.

So, now, the question is, how can you limit these permissions that Pitu can access by default? Simply visit your phone’s app settings. Here’s for Android users while this one’s for iOS. Please note though that this won’t guarantee that the app will function just fine if you’ll tweak these settings.

This article does not, in any way, intend to cause panic in relation to the popularity of the app. We just want to warn users of the danger of the app and take precautions should they wish to continue using it.

Fjordan Allego
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By Fjordan Allego

Fjordan Allego aka Fjordz is an IT security practitioner in the Philippines. He maintains a couple of blogs where he shares his views on various topics that he finds interesting. A self-confessed introvert who's mostly active in social media, Fjordz also loves to travel and explore the wonders of the world.

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