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App Privacy


Published on co-director and founder Larry Magid on how to protect your privacy with Apple, Android and Facebook Apps

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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App Privacy

  1. 1. App Privacy Larry Magid Co-director, Founder SafeKids.comRevised: Feb 26, 2012
  2. 2. More than a million appsAs of February, 2012• 500,000 iPhone/iPad apps• 382,000 Android apps• Around 500,000 Facebook appsAlmost all from “third parties” (other thanApple/Facebook or Google)
  3. 3. Apps can be all powerful• An “app” is a piece of software that can do practically anything that it’s programmed to do• While not necessarily for evil purposes apps, in theory, can: – Control your device and access anything on it – Access your contact list – Know & even share your location – Record incoming and outgoing text messages – Track incoming & outgoing calls – Send text messages & make calls from your account – Trace web sites visited – Post to your Facebook or Twitter account – Anything you do with your phone can be recorded by an app But they’re not supposed to do any of these things without permission
  4. 4. Guidelines are a start• Facebook and Apple have guidelines & rules about app privacy, but can they really police thousands of app developers?• Revelations about apps uploading user data to servers may be the tip of the iceberg
  5. 5. Reviews and Ratings • App stores offer user reviews and ratings • They’re not perfect but they give you a sense of what others think. – Look for apps with lots of reviews & high ratings • Use a search engine to researchApple App Store providesratings and user reviews but apps or review sites likeyou have to scroll down tosee them AppReviews
  6. 6. Only Install “Reputable” Apps• Download from legitimate app stores - Apple, Android & Amazon• Read reviews & ratings in App store or marketplace• Search for info about apps• Look at what permissions they’re asking for
  7. 7. Pay Careful Attention to “Permissions”Apps will typically ask you permission before runningfor things like: – Uploading your contact information – Tracking your location – Posting to your Facebook or Twitter accountDoes the the app really needs this information to serveyou? If not, don’t install it
  8. 8. Be especially careful about:• Apps that disclose your location• Apps that access your contact list• Apps that send photos to others One of many apps that share your location with friends or others Pay close attention to permissions such as uploading your contacts or disclosing your location
  9. 9. And Don’t Forget To• Understand the privacy settings of your mobile operating system• Look for age or content rating on any apps for kids• Lock (PIN protect) your phone
  10. 10. Privacy Disclosure AgreementOn February 23, 2012 California’s Attorney Generalannounced a deal with Apple, Google, Microsoft & othersto require app developers to disclose their privacy policiesbefore users download them. This should benefit usersthroughout the world
  11. 11. “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” On February 23, 2012 The Obama Administration weighed-in with its “Consumer Data Privacy in the Networked World” report & “Bill of Rights” giving consumers the right to: • Individual Control • Transparency – Easily understandable • Respect for Context – Companies will collect, use & disclose in context of how data is to be used • Security • Access and Accuracy – Right to access our own data • Focused Collection – Reasonable limits on data that companies collect and retain • Accountability – Companies accountable to enforcement authorities
  12. 12. Thank you! Larry