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  • Apps Violating Your Privacy: Report


    Apps are sending your personal data to online trackers in violation of Apple's privacy rules. That's the conclusion of a Wall Street Journal investigation, which determined that a number of popular apps - such as Pandora and MySpace - transmit device and demographic data to advertisers without first asking the user for permission.

    The Wall Street Journal tested 101 apps for iPhone and Android and found that 56 of them transmitted unique device identifiers (UDIDs) to a flock of advertisers without asking or even informing the app user. 47 of the evaluated apps send location data and five (including Pandora) transmit your personal details such as age and gender. Apple says that they vet apps before approving them on the App Store, but the Journal found that at least one - Pumpkin Maker - had managed to skirt the rules.

    These concerns have been raised before, and one important thing to be aware of is that the collected data is usually processed in batches without any specific information about your identity. However, the fact that UDIDs are being sent out presents the very real danger that someone - be it a black-hat hacker or government organization - could be intercepting this information, slowly building a database of everyone's personal details. Meghan O'Holleran of Traffic Marketplace notes that "you can't clear a UDID like you can a cookie." She says "that's how we track everything."

    A mobile-ads executive interviewed by the Journal responded by asserting that "in the world of mobile, there is no anonymity." Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association says that the mobile phone is "always with us. It's always on."

    Source: AppleInsider, image via Wall Street Journal
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apps Violating Your Privacy: Report started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 69 Comments
    1. sh33436's Avatar
      sh33436 -
      Hope dav team see these make some barrier like they did for one jailbreak on 4.0
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      So, would anyone care to explain what the big deal is?

      Alert me when my actual personal information is being sent out, i.e. my address, cc numbers, bank accts., etc.
    1. Nest's Avatar
      Nest -
      Why the sudden change in Pandora usage?
      There's no point in stopping the use of the app.
      They already got the information this story posted so you deleting the app isnt going to change that lol.
      Its over and done with already. keep using Pandora. you're pretty safe haha
    1. jibaro3's Avatar
      jibaro3 -
      I be having phone calls from car warranty, credit cards offer and other. Send I install pandora app. So they are make sale with the phone id to a 3 party and who knows what other information are pulling from are devices
    1. MindGem's Avatar
      MindGem -
      I use Spotify, I dont care. And yeah, use PrivaCy if your scared.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      Maybe that's why app submissions have been so fast recently, apple isn't even checking the apps
    1. Poseidon79's Avatar
      Poseidon79 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      So, would anyone care to explain what the big deal is?

      Alert me when my actual personal information is being sent out, i.e. my address, cc numbers, bank accts., etc.
      I agree with you on this all the way. They're collecting basic demographic info so they can show me relevant ads. I would rather see things like Best Buy and Chevy on my screen than Maxi Pads and Huggies Diapers!
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      Pandora? What Pandora!?!
      We don't need no stinkin' Pandora!
      Bye Bye Pandora!
    1. 5h4d0w's Avatar
      5h4d0w -
      Just install Firewall iP. I use it to block all (well, all that I'm aware of and the app will find) usage tracking sites. Not to mention it also blocks ads in Safari if you know what to block. I just "Deny All" in apps that shouldn't be connecting to the web at all.
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      Quote Originally Posted by Poseidon79 View Post
      I agree with you on this all the way. They're collecting basic demographic info so they can show me relevant ads. I would rather see things like Best Buy and Chevy on my screen than Maxi Pads and Huggies Diapers!
      I would rather seeing NOTHING on my screen!
    1. Lombardo Joe's Avatar
      Lombardo Joe -
      I don't care about any of these things except for contact information being sent. That's just not fair to my friends.

      I have personally always been worried about credit card info/checking account info being leaked. But then again, they can get that at proximity to your wallet these days...

      End of the road, all apps should be required to thoroughly show what info is collected and let you specifically check one by one which you agree to be shared.


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    1. punchyouinthenuts's Avatar
      punchyouinthenuts -
      Quote Originally Posted by 5h4d0w View Post
      Just install Firewall iP. I use it to block all (well, all that I'm aware of and the app will find) usage tracking sites. Not to mention it also blocks ads in Safari if you know what to block. I just "Deny All" in apps that shouldn't be connecting to the web at all.
      Exactly. If you're running FirewallIP, then you're aware of every I/O request on your phone. What would be interesting to see is WSJ (or any other agency reporting on iPhone privacy issues) take the issue even further to note that users who jailbreak their devices can actually protect themselves from this type of intrusion (by running FirewallIp, PrivaCy, etc.), making the argument for more/total user control of their (not Apple's) devices even stronger, and even possibly encouraging more users to look into jailbreaking their devices to stay "safe."
    1. Poseidon79's Avatar
      Poseidon79 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thevmax View Post
      I would rather seeing NOTHING on my screen!
      And have the company go out of business b/c of lack of revenue then you'll have no app at all! Smart thinking buddy!
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Poseidon79 View Post
      I agree with you on this all the way. They're collecting basic demographic info so they can show me relevant ads. I would rather see things like Best Buy and Chevy on my screen than Maxi Pads and Huggies Diapers!
      Basic demographic info? Like my full name, my exact location, and a unique identifier from my phone? I get enough sales ad crap in the mail and enough crap thrown at me in every waking moment of my life trying to sell me everything under the sun. I dropped SunTrust because they sold my name to everyone that would buy it. I'm currently trying to figure out how state farm got my name and address despite no one in my family nor my friend have state farm. These apps are sending DETAILED information. I don't want anyone knowing that info unless I explicitly give it to them. It's none of the app developers business where I live, what my iPhones unique identity number is, or my zipcode. All they should care about is making an app that can convince me that it's good enough to purchase. If the data was anonymous then why do they gather my name and iPhone UDID? They are tailoring it to me specifically. Hell even non-ad supported apps are gathering data if the stories are correct. Though they could be trying to ratchet up the fear angle.
    1. Whyt151's Avatar
      Whyt151 -
      I thought all of you teckie guys would have known that there os no such thing as privacy anymore! Wow!!!
    1. sadsamurai's Avatar
      sadsamurai -
      Quote Originally Posted by KartRacer View Post
      Basic demographic info? Like my full name, my exact location, and a unique identifier from my phone? I get enough sales ad crap in the mail and enough crap thrown at me in every waking moment of my life trying to sell me everything under the sun. I dropped SunTrust because they sold my name to everyone that would buy it. I'm currently trying to figure out how state farm got my name and address despite no one in my family nor my friend have state farm. These apps are sending DETAILED information. I don't want anyone knowing that info unless I explicitly give it to them. It's none of the app developers business where I live, what my iPhones unique identity number is, or my zipcode. All they should care about is making an app that can convince me that it's good enough to purchase. If the data was anonymous then why do they gather my name and iPhone UDID? They are tailoring it to me specifically. Hell even non-ad supported apps are gathering data if the stories are correct. Though they could be trying to ratchet up the fear angle.
      That's exactly it!
      I don't want ANY fawking ads on any of my devices and I especially hate any and all attempts at "tailoring" ads to my supposed "interests". When I want to buy something I research it and make an informed decision. That's how I bought my DSL camera, my watch, my phone, my car, etc. Ads have never ever influenced my buying decisions and will never do so. They mean absolutely nothing to me as they reflect nothing of the true quality of whatever they are trying to sell, they are nothing but a nuisance.
      Privacy is not dead it's just takes time and effort to cover your tracks as much as possible.
    1. punchyouinthenuts's Avatar
      punchyouinthenuts -
      Quote Originally Posted by Whyt151 View Post
      I thought all of you teckie guys would have known that there os no such thing as privacy anymore! Wow!!!
      I'd have to disagree with you there. As sadsamurai said:

      Quote Originally Posted by sadsamurai View Post
      Privacy is not dead it's just takes time and effort to cover your tracks as much as possible.
      It's a generally defeatist attitude that fuels the continued existence of what most people do not desire. Believing that privacy is "dead" is giving into the notion that you have no privacy, and that peace is found by coming to terms with that fact, thus giving them no fight whatsoever, allowing their harassment to go unchecked. Sadly, if you're one of the few who actually possess the will to resist this intrusion, it takes extra effort on your part to return to a sense of normalcy, where you can go about common routines without having to devote extra work just to keep the machine oiled. In this particular instance, you need to jailbreak your device, install apps that thwart their efforts to collect your information, and keep active on your phone so as to make sure everything is in fine, working order, and your privacy and information are protected.

      I don't know about you Whyt151, or anyone else here for that matter, but it's worth it to me.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Quote Originally Posted by iLaw-One View Post
      The toggles need to be off....
      Pivacy is set to default in the off position so you should turn them to on?
    1. c0dy's Avatar
      c0dy -
      I'd much rather have them see my info and show me ads that relate to me than have stupid audio commercials between songs. They SHOULD be asking for permission though.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by punchyouinthenuts View Post
      I'd have to disagree with you there. As sadsamurai said:



      It's a generally defeatist attitude that fuels the continued existence of what most people do not desire. Believing that privacy is "dead" is giving into the notion that you have no privacy, and that peace is found by coming to terms with that fact, thus giving them no fight whatsoever, allowing their harassment to go unchecked. Sadly, if you're one of the few who actually possess the will to resist this intrusion, it takes extra effort on your part to return to a sense of normalcy, where you can go about common routines without having to devote extra work just to keep the machine oiled. In this particular instance, you need to jailbreak your device, install apps that thwart their efforts to collect your information, and keep active on your phone so as to make sure everything is in fine, working order, and your privacy and information are protected.

      I don't know about you Whyt151, or anyone else here for that matter, but it's worth it to me.
      No, peace is found by living a life that does not require the need for privacy.


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi