Android apps sending personal data to third party advertisers
It looks as though we’ve been sharing our personal information with some Android third party advertisers! A recent study conducted by a team of scientists from Intel Labs, Penn State and Duke University shows that 50% of the 30 apps tested were relaying information to advertisers including IMEI numbers, SIM numbers and phone numbers to name a few.
We all know that everything we search for, look at, and download is tracked somewhere and stored for a time period. However, we still have the right to know which apps we’ve given permissions to versus which apps didn’t bother to ask. The alarming factoid with this study, is that the 50% of apps that reported the unique identifiers didn’t prompt for permission to send that data in the first place!
A Google spokesperson make this comment regarding the findings;
“On all computing devices, desktop or mobile, users necessarily entrust at least some of their information to the developer of the application. Android has taken steps to inform users of this trust relationship and to limit the amount of trust a user must grant to any given application developer. We also provide developers with best practices
about how to handle user data.
When installing an application from Android Market, users see a screen that explains clearly what information the application has permission to access, such as a user’s location or contacts. Users must explicitly approve this access in order to continue with the installation, and they may uninstall applications at any time. Any third party code included in an application is bound by these same permissions. We consistently advise users to only install apps they trust.”