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Survey:Mobile Apps Sharing Sensitive Personal Info to Third Parties

6:25 pm on Nov 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This is an interesting survey, and may make people more aware of using certain apps on their mobile.

Our results show that many mobile apps share potentially sensitive user data with third parties, and that they do not need visible permission requests to access the data. Survey:Mobile Apps Sharing Sensitive Personal Info to Third Parties [jots.pub]
We found that the average Android app sends potentially sensitive data to 3.1 third-party domains, and the average iOS app connects to 2.6 third-party domains. Android apps are more likely than iOS apps to share with a third party personally identifying information such as name (73% of Android apps vs. 16% of iOS apps) and email address (73% vs. 16%). For location data, including geo-coordinates, more iOS apps (47%) than Android apps (33%) share that data with a third party. In terms of potentially sensitive behavioral data, we found that 3 out of the 30 Medical and Health & Fitness category apps in the sample share medically-related search terms and user inputs with a third party. Finally, the third-party domains that receive sensitive data from the most apps are Google.com (36% of apps), Googleapis.com (18%), Apple.com (17%), and Facebook.com (14%). 93% of Android apps tested connected to a mysterious domain, safemovedm.com, likely due to a background process of the Android phone.

Read the full survey, you'll find it fascinating.

When installing apps on Android there's a permissions popup which lists the information the app requires access. Sometimes it's obvious; if it's a camera app, it'll probably require access to the sd card, etc. A user has to accept these to proceed with the app install. i'm sure Apple would be the same.
I have often cancelled installation of an app because it's asking for information I feel is of no relevance, and too much information. Tough luck, i'll do without the app.
However, if the apps are "talking in the background" it'll destroy trust amongst the wider community of mobile users.

Just look at the communications graphic, it's an eye opener, especially for some.