Google Android apps found to be sharing data
Posted in: Mobile & Wireless at 01/10/2010 20:13
Some of the most popular apps written for Google's Android phones do not tell users what data they are gathering, says a study by US researchers.
Half of 30 applications studied share location information and unique identifiers with advertisers.
Information about the data gathering was collected using software developed by the team.
App creators should provide more information what will be done with harvested data, they say.
To read this BBC News report in full, see:
Is Your Android Phone Spying on You?
Got an Android phone? Installed apps from the Android Market? Congratulations, you have been named the Mayor of We Know Where You Went and What You Did Last Week.
Even if you never use services like Foursquare or Facebook Places or Google Latitude to announce your physical location to the world, the apps you have installed may be capturing this information and sharing it with advertisers -- without your knowledge or consent.
While this study was limited to Android apps, the problem is not. I expect to hear a lot more about other apps slurping up GPS and handset information, either accidentally or deliberately, on other handset platforms. The reason we're hearing about Android first is that Android is open source and easier for researchers to access.
Many Android apps leak user privacy data
A recent test of prototype security code for Android phones found that 15 of 30 free Android Market applications sent users' private information to remote advertising servers, without the users being aware of what was being sent or to whom. In some cases, the user's location data was sent as often as every 30 seconds.
Android software piracy rampant despite Google's efforts to curb
The software, called TaintDroid, was designed to uncover how user-permitted applications actually access and use private or sensitive data, including location, phone numbers and even SIM card identifiers, and to notify users within seconds. The findings suggest that Android, and other phone operating systems, need to do more to monitor what third-party applications are doing under the covers of smartphones.