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To be fair, Meitu isn’t the only app that allows users to download it for free in exchange for their data.

“The real question is, would you willingly give that data to a company you don’t know? If I had the choice to not give that data, I would have said no,” Linares says.

Update: Meitu provided Tech Crunch with a detailed descriptions of the permissions it uses, embedded below.

Will Strafach, the president of Sudo Security Group, also analyzed Meitu’s i Phone app.

“The i OS version is extremely tame with regards to analytics collection.

And although the app has been popular in China for years — Meitu went public in Hong Kong last month — it only recently caught on with American users.

But security experts quickly pointed out that Meitu, which is free to download in Google Play and the App Store, requires way more data from users’ phones than is necessary for a simple photo app and contains some allegedly sketchy code.

“It’s becoming the new normal,” Linares says of invasive free apps.