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FBI can Hack and Switch On the Mic of Your Google Android Phones , Tablets & Laptops

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Majority of Apps spy on users


JNN 18 Dec 2010 : An investigation into smartphone applications has revealed that most the Apps are designed to spy on people, transmitting personal data of device owners to different companies.

According to The Wall Street Journal‘s investigation, 56 of the 101 widely used Apps — including software and games for iPhone and Android phones — transferred the personal details of their users to advertising companies without the consent of users.

Various companies benefit from the personal information in different ways, ranging from finding the users address to their interests and software they use the most.

Forty-seven of these applications transmitted the location of the phone, whereas age, gender and other personal information were sent by five of the Apps. The unique ID number assigned to each phone by the manufacturers was the most widely shared detail.

iPhone sends out more information compared with Androids which typically use Google operating systems, the study found.

TextPlus 4 (iPhone App for text messaging), Pandora (a music App in both iPhone and Android), and Paper Toss (a game in both iPhone and Android) were the applications sharing the most data. The manufacturers of TextPlus 4 and Pandora; however, deny the claim, saying that the Apps share data anonymously and the personal profile, including age and gender, is transferred voluntarily.

Apple, similarly, says iPhone Apps “cannot transmit data about a user without obtaining the user’s prior permission and providing the user with access to information about how and where the data will be used.”

The manufacturers of Smart Phones running Google’s Android operating systems, such as Motorola Inc, Samsung Electronics Co and Google, say the responsibility of handling with user’s information rests with the App-makers. If users do not like a particular application to have access to their data, they can simply choose not to install the app, Google says.

While computer users can block or delete tiny tracking files (cookies), smartphone users are completely powerless in this regard.

“In the world of mobile, there is no anonymity,” says Michael Becker of the Mobile Marketing Association, stressing that a cell phone is “always with us. It’s always on.”