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.