Majority of Smart Phone Apps Spying On You

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The Wall Street Journal did an investigation, testing 101 apps (the last being their own) on iPhone and Android and found that the majority, 56 of them, were sending information about the user to companies other than the application’s maker.

Most of the information being sent was marketing information about the user, with 47 of the apps sending the location of the phone, but only five were sending demographics (age, sex, etc.) without authorization.  The most widely shared detail was the unique ID each phone has.

For a synopsis of the story, watch the video below:

The study found that fewer Android apps were sending unauthorized information to third parties and also found that the worst culprits were mostly very popular apps like TextPlus 4, Pandora, and Paper Toss.  Two of those three have user agreements on download that have user consent couched in them while the other couldn’t be reached by the WSJ before publication.

Apple’s terms of service require application makers to ask for user permission, but one thing that the WSJ team uncovered is that most of the apps in question do not have Privacy Policy information on their website.  One notable exception was Angry Birds, which posted its policy at about the time the WSJ called to check – they had already been working on it.

Most smart phone users probably realize that they have no privacy or anonymity and Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association agrees.  “In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity.”

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1 Comment
  1. Dfshyedh

    December 20, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    “In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity.” Douchebag.

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