18
Dec
wsj_study

Way back in July, Lookout released the results of a study on app security, and found that many apps have access to user data that they have no need for - suggesting that there was plenty of potential for illicit information use. Two months later, a group of researchers from Intel, Penn State, and Duke came forth with data showing just that: 15 of the 30 apps tested sent GPS data, 7 sent unique hardware information, and a few sent more private information such as phone and SIM numbers.

Fast forward to today - the Wall Street Journal has released the findings of a very similar study they conducted, and the results are surprisingly similar. Of the 101 apps tested (half iOS, half Android):

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 outsiders.

These weren't exactly no-name apps, either. Among those that tested positive were Paper Toss (one of the top Android games), the Pandora app, and TextPlus 4 (iOS). One surprising fact they mentioned: iOS apps transmitted more data than Android apps - unexpected, given that Lookout painted a more dire picture for Android.

Certainly makes you stop and think, doesn't it? How do you feel about apps sending "anonymous" user data to third parties - does it bother you, or do you accept it as a price to pay in return for keeping an app free? I'm curious what others think, and I'd love to hear what you have to say via the comments below.

Be sure to hit up the source link for a full rundown of the study and a more in-depth look at the results.

[Source: WSJ]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • kimberly

    Oh hell yeah id pay.. im pissed about pandora though.. didn't realize they were one of those big violaters. Hope they have fun reading my facebook posts about my cat pissing in my shoe...

    • Aaron Gingrich

      I'm not sure which way I go. As a frequent user of Pandora though, I plan to continue using it.

      Also, I lol'ed.

  • Corey

    i would sooner pay than to have them have my info nothing is private i am at the point of going back to the basics no phone at all i can do without all the crap

  • Richard

    I think it's bs that they send out our information...it's bad enough these free apps bombard us with ads that make the dev money, PLUS the devs are taking our info and selling it to marketers!? Ridiculous! I'm sure it's in the terms & agreements....but nobody reads those and this is YOUR personal info (Phone Calls (state and identity), Your Location, Sorage (modify/delete SD contents), Your Accounts (manage your account lists) Network Communication (FULL Internet ACCESS).....selling this info shouldn't be an option, or hidden in the terms.

    Just uninstalled Pandora, thanks for the tip.

  • kos

    whats really missing is a black list ... additional maybe the market apps could include that info ... if not the official from google then maybe something like appbrains or any othere market app

  • Corey

    I am pissed over this i am new to Android and what %^&*(((^% not impressed with all the spyware paypal app and bank apps are all out there for them to see and also not impressed with my HTC and there spyware with tecla log folder nice I am going BB i am out of here

  • http://stuarthalliday.com Stuart Halliday

    We should have an app that alerts us when certain info is read off our phone and allow us to block it.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/dbin78 Dain Binder

    According to the article Pandora is getting what I would expect for any advertising based app. I will continue to use it.

    Is hardware information really an issue? Any website can tell your OS and screen resolution! Nothing new.

    Android Police, if you look at your logs (Google Analytics I see) you can tell a lot of information about your users. I could argue I was not explicitly told about that.

    I would have privacy concerns if we got in to reading my texts, emails, etc. and transmitting those back to advertising companies.

    Plus, do you think your cell phone company doesn't have your age, gender, and location?

    To answer the question, I am ok with this and will continue to use the apps. This is what I fully expected.

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