As most of us are aware, technological advances tend to come with an unwelcome side-dish of privacy invasion. Both the iPhone and Android smartphones have become an incredible amalgamation of telephones, computers and portable music players, and they now hold a frightening amount of information about their owners, writes Nicole Goodkind for Yahoo Finance.
Tracking location data
Your smartphone now, more likely than not, contains your credit card numbers, home address, birthday and more, but for the most part users have to make a choice on whether to input this information or not. More worrying is the data that your iPhone or Android collects without you even realizing.
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One way in which we are transmitting information is through apps that we download, and a new study carried out by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University has shown that 12 of the most popular Android apps track user location once every 3 minutes, on average.
23 Android users were used for the relatively small study, which monitored when apps asked users for contacts, call logs and locations. According to the results, a group of popular apps including Facebook, Groupon and The Weather Channel tracked location an average of 6,200 times over the course of 2 weeks.
iPhone apps ask permission to collect data
“One of the reasons they’re doing this is because it’s very lucrative for advertising,” says Yahoo Finance tech reporter Aaron Pressman. “Mobile-based advertisers pay a premium if they have a location for obvious reasons. If you’re near a store or in a particular store showing you a certain kind of ad would be much more likely to get a reaction.”
Not everyone is comfortable about the data collection, with concerns arising over the future use of the information. “Will they be misused or will someone hack into them? If you become engaged in a lawsuit or divorce, these databases could be looked at by lawyers. It can rebound against you,” said Pressman.
He later went on to claim that those concerned with privacy would be better of buying an iPhone rather than an Android. iPhone apps must request the users’ permission in order to track your location or access information on your phone, while a control panel gives users the opportunity to limit access. Android users are only told of general monitoring carried out by apps, but cannot exercise any fine-grained control.