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Handhelds Iphone Privacy Apple Your Rights Online

Privacy Concerns With Android and iPhone Apps 116

Posted by timothy
from the wouldn't-exactly-say-I've-been-missing-it dept.
carre4 writes "The Wall Street Journal has come out with an article where they examine 101 popular smartphone apps and show that 56 of them transmit various types of information including unique phone IDs, age, gender, postal codes, and location to ad companies. The article also includes responses from infringing app makers and talks about the pressure that some developers feel to share even more information, like Max Binshtok, creator of the DailyHoroscope for Android, who has been encouraged by ad-network executives to transmit users' locations."
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Privacy Concerns With Android and iPhone Apps

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  • Data from Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by scruffy (29773) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @06:20PM (#34602668)
    Here is a list of the apps and the information they send about you. Explanation of the columns and numbers are on the bottom of this message. The extra annoying text is to get around the GDF lameness filter.

    A B C D E F IPhone App the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 0.03 Seconds Pro the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 Age My Face the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 2 0 2 2 0 Angry Birds the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 2 2 0 Angry Birds Lite the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 0 2 2 0 Aurora Feint II: Lite the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 Barcode Scanner (BahnTech) the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 0 0 2 Bejeweled 2 the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Best Alarm Clock Free the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Bible App (LifeChurch.tv) the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 0 0 Bump the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 CBS News the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 0.03 Seconds the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Dictionary.com the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 0 1 0 Doodle Jump the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 0 1 1 0 ESPN ScoreCenter the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 1 0 1 0 0 Facebook the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 0 0 Flashlight (John Haney Software) the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 1 2 0 Fluent News Reader the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 1 2 0 1 Foursquare the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Fox News the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 2 0 0 Google Maps the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 2 2 2 0 Grindr the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 1 2 0 Groupon the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 Hipstamatic the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 iJewels the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 0 0 iLoveBeer: Zythology the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 0 1 2 0 Medscape the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 1 2 2 0 MyFitnessPal the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 0 1 1 0 Netflix the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 NYTimes the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Ninjump the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 2 2 2 0 Pandora the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Paper Toss the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 0 0 PerfectPhoto the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Pimple Popper Lite the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Pumpkin Maker the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 1 0 RedLaser the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 Ringtone Maker the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 0 2 0 Ringtone Maker Pro the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Shazam the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 2 2 0 Talking Tom Cat the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 1 2 2 2 1 TextPlus 4 the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 The Moron Test the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 2 0 The Moron Test: Section 1 the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 Tips & Tricks: IPhone Secrets Lite the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    2 0 0 2 0 0 TweetDeck the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 1 0 WSJ Mobile Reader the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 2 2 0 The Weather Channel the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    0 0 0 0 0 1 WhatsApp Messenger the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 0 2 2 0 Yelp the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    1 0 0 0 0 0

  • by GIL_Dude (850471) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @06:58PM (#34602886) Homepage
    Don't forget that Assisted GPS (A-GPS) requires network access: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS [wikipedia.org]. Some of these folks may have just been trying to get you a correct fix faster by using A-GPS. Unfortunately, you can't tell from the Android permissions screen as you will just get things like "network access" which can be used for any purpose - benign, nefarious, or anything in between. I don't know what the answer is to this, but I know I would prefer to be able to tell the app what sites / services it could access.
  • by asnelt (1837090) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @07:27PM (#34603136) Homepage
    I'm not aware of a repository but there are three lists of Android free software apps that I know of.

    Le Wiki Koumbit: https://wiki.koumbit.net/AndroidFreeSoftware [koumbit.net]

    The Replicant for Android list: http://trac.osuosl.org/trac/replicant/wiki/ListOfKnownFreeSoftwareApps [osuosl.org]

    The Wikiperdia list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Open_Source_Android_Applications [wikipedia.org]

  • Laws of reality (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @07:53PM (#34603268)

    The article stated:

    "One iPhone app, Pumpkin Maker (a pumpkin-carving game), transmits location to an ad network without asking permission."

    That is flat out impossible. I am an iPhone developer; there is no way for an application to obtain user location without the user being prompted if that is OK.

    It makes the rest of the conclusions very suspect to me. Just how would an app get age and gender? Again I cannot think of a way that is even possible on an iPhone without being asked; no-where on my iPhone is my birthday or age stored.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.

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