Android Apps Secretly Sending GPS User Data to Advertisers

Sep 30, 2010

Researchers from Duke, Penn State, and Intel Labs confirm the process.


Privacy has been a long-held concern with the Android OS and the news that a significant number of popular apps sending GPS location data to advertisers certainly won't quell these concerns.


Ars Technica reports that researchers from Duke, Penn State and Intel Labs have confirmed that of the 30 popular applications they tested, half sent data to remote advertising servers without the users' knowledge. The researchers performed this test with an application called TaintDroid, named so because it uses dynamic taint analysis to detect and report when applications send sensitive information.


Any Android user who has installed an app knows that before installing, the app prompts the user with a list of phone features the app will be able to access. A user looks these over and if they approve of the features, approves the app and it installs. It's a safety feature designed to give users control and reveal permissions that might seem fishy.


But when an app already uses location features to function, there's no way of knowing what else the app will use those features for, based on the generic description.

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  • OMG

    Thats because I use rooted firmware, protecting from 3rd vendors software crap.
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