Smartphone usage is increasing and at present most of us use smartphones. The usage of a smartphone is tightly associated with the use of third party apps as they are an essential element to experience all the features of a modern day phone. Yet how much, do we know about the apps we use. For example, do we know
1) What information the apps collect in addition to providing the intended service?
It’s common knowledge that some free apps and even paid apps are collecting personal data for various purposes and share with third-parties. Are you worried about it? If you are, is there anything you can do about? If you think about it, there are not many tools to help you out.
2) Who are the third parties receive this data?
Many third party companies such as advertising and analytics companies have access to your data through the apps. You might be surprised to hear that there might be over 25 companies who might be able to predict your exact current location even if you are not connected to the internet.
3) Did I install the safest app for the intended service?
When you decide to install an app for a certain function what makes you think you choose the best in the market (i.e. Reviews or Downloads which can be possible spam)?.
The bigger picture: Apps can be connecting your data to multiple trackers
How trackers are connected to personal data in top-100 apps in Australia, as of August 2014.
To address these issues we are trying to develop a framework to help the smartphone users who are concerned about privacy to make smart decisions when it comes to selecting apps. More details on this can be found here and our related publications can be found here.
This project is complete and the trial for the app is no longer available.