An investigation by
Street Journal has
confirmed what many smartphone users have long feared – many of
your apps are mining
your personal data. The study examined the
transmissions of 101 Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) apps.
According to the report:
results] showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to
other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps
transmitted the phone's location in some way. Five sent age, gender
and other personal details to outsider.
common use of the data was to sell it to advertisers. "TextPlus
4", a top iOS app, sold the phone's unique ID number to eight ad
companies and the user's age and gender, to two of them. "Paper
Toss", the best-selling Android and iOS app, sent the phone's ID
to five companies. And the ever-popular Pandora internet radio
app sent the user's age, gender, location and phone IDs to
advertisers.Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr claimed in a comment
to the WSJ,
"We have created strong privacy protections for our customers,
especially regarding location-based data. Privacy and trust are
vitally important."Despite "strong privacy
protections", many app makers are sending location data to
advertisers. And those advertisers, in theory, could pass that
information on to whoever they please. While some apps (like
Pandora) require the user to briefly approve sharing their location,
other approved apps like the iOS's "Pumpkin Maker" share
the information with no request for permission. The maker of
this app claimed ignorance of Apple's
policy when contacted by the WSJ.More
troublesome still, some apps -- including Angry Birds and DoodleJump
-- were found to be transmitting the user's screen name or password
to advertisers -- information that could be used to compromise weakly
passworded accounts.While PC users can block tracking
extensions and deleting cookies, smart phone users don't have the
same kind of options. Ultimately the choice at this point
appears to be -- accept that some of your information will be sold to
advertisers or don't use smart phone apps.
quote: ...were found to be transmitting the user's screen name or password to advertisers -- information that could be used to compromise weakly passworded accounts.
quote: I wish the app would warn you that it will send information to adverts. Most of them time it don't.
quote: There is no such thing as free lunch so all those free apps have to be paid for somehow.
quote: And the ever-popular Pandora internet radio app sent the user's age, gender, location and phone IDs to advertisers.