Mobile App Makers Take Data Without Owner’s Knowledge

Mobile news – App developers are free to take user’s personal data without permission from the phone’s owners. App developers mostly get data from address book in smartphones.

Makers of most popular smartphones apps routinely get information from the phone’s personal address books and in some instances they store stolen information on their own computers. The practice was under investigation by members of Congress after seeing the news that getting such data was an industry best practice.

Based on the published rules on apps, Apple expressly disallows that practice. The company was sent a letter by lawmakers how approved apps were allowed to get address book data without the knowledge of the owners. However, it its statement, Apple did not mention reason why those apps had been approved.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said that that such practice in collecting user’s data secretly is strictly now allowed on their guidelines. He added that they are taking necessary steps to stop the practice and any app that want to access contact data will need user approval in a future software release.

The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates the use of data from consumers on the Internet, has sanctioned big companies such as Google and Facebook over privacy concerns. However, the commission still has no comment regarding the practices of app makers.

The most popular applications for iPod, iPad and iPhone such as Foodspotting, Hipster and Gowalla were not stopped by Apple from taking user’s contact and transmitting without user’s permission.
Android OS maker Google forces developers to ask user’s permission to access any personal data up front.

The purpose of app makers to collect data is to help easily expand the network of people using their program. The practice of getting information from address book came to light when mobile social network Path was noticed by a developer uploading the whole address books to its servers without permission from users. The company has promised to stop the practice and destroy the data it has collected after the news came out.

e Mobile News .net (c) 2012

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