Your Apps Are Watching You
Statistics say 1 in 2 Americans will have a smart-phone by December 2011. Many people keep their address, bank account numbers, passwords, PIN numbers and more stored in their phone. The mounds of information kept in smart-phones is more than enough to steal one’s identity with ease.
What most people don’t consider are the applications that they are using on a daily basis. What information is stored there? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than you think.
After examining over 100 popular apps, they found that 56 transmit the phone’s unique device ID to companies without the user’s knowledge. Forty-seven of the applications transmitted the phone’s actual location, while five sent other personal information such as age and gender. This shows how many times your privacy is potentially compromised without your knowledge, just by playing music on Pandora.
Here are a few of the culprits:
- Textplus 4 is a popular text messaging app. It sent the unique phone ID to over 7 different ad companies.
- Pandora, a popular music application for both smart-phones and computers sends age, gender, location and phone ID to many advertisers.
- Paper Toss sends your phone ID to 5 different advertisers.
- Apps are capturing and transmitting a variety of your personal information. If you are using smart-phone apps, your information is being transmitted.
- Paid apps tend to transmit less personal data than free apps. After all, the free apps have to make money somehow!
- Get rid of any applications you don’t use.
- If an app gives you the option to opt out of information sharing, take it.