Most Apps Failing on Privacy

A report has warned that the vast majority of popular apps are guilty of basic failings over user privacy.

The Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) looked at 1,211 apps and found that 85% were not clearly explaining what data was being collected, and for what reason.

The report said almost one in three apps were requesting an excessive amount of personal information. The UK's Information Commissioners Office has backed the findings.

Simon Rice, the ICO's group manager for technology said: "Today's results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer.

"The ICO and the other Gpen members will be writing to those developers where there is clear room for improvement.

"We will also be publishing guidance to explain the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps."

Privacy International said that users being left in the dark on data collection was "completely unacceptable".

They added: "Sadly this type of smash and grab is now becoming an industry standard, where apps are taking as much information as possible and hoping users don't notice.

"We deserve to be in control over what information is shared and under what circumstances, no matter the applications we use or size of the screen."

Dr Stephen Murdoch, a researcher at University College London said: "Often privacy leaks from mobile apps don't come from the app itself, but from the advertisements which are added.

"Quite frequently the people who are writing the application don't understand themselves what the advertisement code is doing. If you couple it with the fact that the money for these apps are made almost purely through ads - developers don't want to ask too many questions."

print this article

Return to internet news headlines
View Internet News Archive

Share with: