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Smartphone apps sending your data to India, China

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 11 Mar 2012 9:54 User comments (1)

Smartphone apps sending your data to India, China Apps send out your phone numbers, e-mail addresses, GPS coordinates and more.
An app collecting data on your phone should only need to do so if its critical to functionality, or at least that's what conventional wisdom would suggest. In reality, some smartphone apps send data to remote servers that has nothing to do with how the app operates in the first place.

A report in the UK's The Sunday Times probed 70 of these applications using MiddleMan software to monitor data transfers. Of the 70 apps, "twenty-one transmitted the phone number, six sent out email addresses, six shared the exact co-ordinates of the phone and more than half passed on the handset's ID number."

While the privacy policies and terms of these apps probably do all mention that they collect such data, most do not give an indication of where the data ends up. Using its MiddleMan software, the Sunday Times got a peak at the destinations.

Fifteen of the apps (one of which is a wallpaper app named "Cute Dog", passed on the phone number of the device to an LA-based advertiser, while a Flashlight app sent the user's email address and phone number to Delhi, India.

The problem with sending data to remote locations is it travels beyond the zone protected by data protection policies, such as those afforded to citizens of EU nations. The EU does maintain a list of approved countries (where data protection laws uphold the same protections offered in the European Union), but India and China are not on that list.

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1 user comment

115.3.2012 21:29

What Google/Apple needs to do is grant more finely grained access controls for phone apps. The end user (customer?) should be able to control what data an app is allowed to access, and what the app is allowed to do with it.

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