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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. punchyouinthenuts's Avatar
      punchyouinthenuts -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      Profanity always makes your point sound intelligent!
      That's an irrelevant comment. His "profanity" (albeit censored) didn't detract from the point he was trying to make: that ads have no effect on his purchasing decisions, or any other decisions for that matter. I'm inclined to agree with him. I use ad-blocking plug-ins, along with others, on my browser(s) that allow me to remove content I deem excessive to my needs. As such, ads are ubiquitously ignored on my computers, phones, etc.

      I'm sure the two of us are not alone on this.

      And this may be a moot point, but his censored profanity helps his points sound intelligent as much as your Garfield boobies help yours. Just sayin'.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      People really underestimate the power of advertising, no matter how hard they try to claim immunity to it.
    1. sadsamurai's Avatar
      sadsamurai -
      Where did I claim that ads do not influence people’s purchasing habits/decisions?
      Corporations/psychologists have researched it to death and obviously think that ads are effective otherwise they would have stopped spending billions on them long time ago.

      That is not my point, can you understand that?
      I do not want anyone to collect information about me without my express approval and I do not want anyone to push their ads on my device without my consent. Got hat?

      Here, read up on the future and if it doesn’t bother you than you are truly hopeless: The "Hi Tech" Corporate Police State: "Reengineering" the Internet ... for Persistent Surveillance

      It is talking about DPI, Deep Packet Inspection and the consequence of it on every day people.

      “Simply put, DPI hand our minders an unprecedented means to examine and catalogue our online communications. From blog posts to web searches to the content of email and video files, we're delivered up every day, figuratively and literally, to advertising pimps or law enforcers, a faceless army of gatekeepers guarding an indefensible system in perpetual crisis.”

      This IS the problem for many of us.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      Security and privacy are two entirely different things.
    1. Co1d Night's Avatar
      Co1d Night -
      People have my exact location? and my full name? and the model number of my ipod? this hurts me how?

      Maybe its some synister trick for app developers that allows them to track you if you delete their app off your device
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      Care to explain with words rather than faces?

      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    1. IMIX's Avatar
      IMIX -
      When you scroll past the 'license agreement' that you agree to when you install an app, you are agreeing to have the app send the info.
      I contacted Pandora about this.
      They were very forthcoming and made it clear to me that the info is only used to taylor the ads sent to people.
      Subscribers info isn't even sent (only when first registering).
      The UDID is only sent to keep your device from receiving the same ads multiple times.
      This article really makes people think such nefarious things are happening, when they simply aren't.
    1. dennder's Avatar
      dennder -
      Quote Originally Posted by sadsamurai View Post
      Are you obtuse on purpose? Do you know what "research" means?
      In my world it isn't looking at ads and choosing the flashiest/funniest/cutest shite they put in front of me.
      It means reading product reviews, specs, people's personal experiences and opinions, putting them all together and come to a conclusion as to what would be the best choice.
      Then I weigh that against my personal needs, desires, thickness of wallet and go out and buy the best I can afford.

      Well, my in Japan living friend, that was exactly my point.
      Doing research also assumes, that you have read about the ads system, how it works, and that it WILL bother you. Moreover, accepting the license agreement (further tLA) you agreed to whatever sh... app developer stated in it, thus allowing for data usage.
      So you should not complain about those ads and/or the UID of you phone being transferred, you did your homework, you knew ads would be there, you read tLA.
      Yet you still complain -> FAIL...

      ...or didn't you? Well, this way your decision on buying was not as "educated" as you have told earlier. Thus -> FAIL.
      No more, no less.

      And if you ask me, if i do read tLA's - not entirely, i just go through those sections i find "good to know about". This tiny perk (i you wish) saved me a lot of time and some money already. It is not hard actually, take into consideration how much time do you spend on reading articles/forum posts etc., spending 5 to 10 minutes of reading tLA wont kill you.

      My point to this whole discussion is - your privacy protection is only up to you and making "researched and informed" decisions based on half-the-information about the product, or deliberately not taking into consideration some of info because of your preferences, is your and your only fault, thus complaining looks... eww... lame? And surely wont help a bit.

      My concerns are about information not required for the app to work (as i have stated in my previous post), this makes me think twice whether to even think of upgrading from my old iphone (2g).
    1. walktovanish's Avatar
      walktovanish -
      I always knew Doodle Jump was my friend.