acm-header
Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

How Smartphone Apps Track ­sers and Share Data


Artist's conception of apps leaking data.

A study of Android apps in Google's Play Store found almost nine out of 10 track smartphone data and transmit it back to Google.

Credit: FT Montage

Researchers at Oxford University in the U.K. analyzed about 33% of the Android apps in Google's Play Store last year, and found almost nine out of 10 track smartphone data and transmit it back to Google.

Oxford's Reuben Binns said data sharing is out of control since most apps have migrated to a "freemium" model, where advertising rather than sales is the revenue generator.

The team studied the app code indicating data is being transferred, and found that data often cascades to a small number of companies that include Google parent Alphabet.

Binns said the data-transfer rights embedded within apps frequently extend outside crash reporting and other simple tasks because many apps request "special permissions" to transfer and hold information for analysis and resale.

The researchers determined nearly 90% of apps could transfer data to third parties owned by Alphabet, while 5% could send data to third parties in China, and 3% to third parties in Russia.

From Financial Times
View Full Article - May Require Paid Subscription

 

Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

No entries found