Smartphone Security

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    Henry Brown

    Most Smartphone Apps are Spyware

    Imagine if I told you that the web sites you go to were gathering your phone number, tracking your location, and might also be collecting your contacts list. Not only would you be up in arms over this, you would see widespread demand for Congressional investigations, boycotts over these web sites, and a large number of defensive maneuvers from web site developers and ad networks in protecting themselves.

    The dirty secret is that a lot of smartphone apps already get this kind of data and more. It’s been well-known in the computer security research community that many of these apps are essentially spyware. But outside of the research community, there’s been little noise about it so far (the most notable exception being the Wall Street Journal’s analysis of the most popular Android and iPhone apps ).

    The smartphone market is moving out of childhood and into adolescence, and we’re starting to see the growing pains involved when there is a wild and open app market where almost anything goes. Smartphones have incredible potential in being able connect us with other people in new ways and even instrument the physical world, but all of this potential could be at risk if the privacy issues aren’t adequately nad legitimately addressed.

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