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Android smart phone Apps and the data they collect

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posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 10:58 AM
Just recently I have upgraded to an Android based mobile phone, and as you do when you get a smart phone, I started downloading apps that I would find useful (or so I thought). Typical apps were banking, fitness, anti-virus and various time wasting games.

As usual, updates came in for these apps. Instead of just accepting and dowloading these updates, I thought that I would read what I was actually accepting.

Quite frankly I was shocked by what I read.

Take for example the ANZ banking app. It can moniter what apps you use, read your call log of incoming and outgoing calls, read your contact data, how often you've contacted individuals either by email, text or phone call.

Another app was the AVG antivirus, this app can basically control your entire phone and your wireless network that you are connected to. By accepting this one, you are giving the app permission to do whatever it wants, delete entire text threads, individual messages, even selected text out of messages from your phone storage. It can prevent you from sending or receiving emails, texts or it can edit them before sending.

Now these permissions are probably just harmless code that is needed for the app to run efficiently, but the left side of my brain keeps nagging at me, "who is really collecting this information?"

I have since deleted these apps, and any like them that require more information from me that I feel is relevant for them to operate effectively. And yes I know the antivirus software is only looking for malicious code in texts and emails, but why the need to take that much control of a phone. Who really controls the app, and what is done with the data except for marketing.

Everyday our personal lives are becoming less and less personal. We can be tracked everywhere, either through cameras on the street, banking records, and now our phones. I have over 200 contacts on my phone, so I have to assume even thier privacy has been comprimised due to these applications.

So before you just accept & download, have a read of the permissions for the app, you will be pleasently shocked.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 11:12 AM
Whilst some apps clearly do request too much access for whatever reason, I have to ask ... what do people think computer programs have been doing for the last two decades?

When you install an email plugin or anything similar it will have access to all your contacts, phone numbers and all the rest of it. It's like when you use a number blocking app or an app that can be used to make calls or interact with your SMS ... it will require permissions to modify and alter these things.

I guess because your phone tells you these things it makes people more paranoid, but we've been using computers the last couple of decades in the exact same way using connections to the exact same internet without caring.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by Pinke

You are right, I have never thought of it that way before.
Maybe because of the portability and the ability of connecting to the net basically anywhere it has made me more aware of how vulnerable my privacy is.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by jamesthegreat

Look at the small print in your phone contract and you'll find they have the right to collect any information that they want, this is most likely sold to other entities.

We collect your personal information such as:

your full name your gender your date of birth or age

your delivery and/or your billing address including postcodes

your telephone number

your email

your debit or credit card details your banking information Information on add-on products and services purchased by you

your preferences and interests both when you tell us what they are or when we deduce them from what we know about you your demographic information (which we may acquire from third parties)

the channel you chose to purchase your device or sign up to our services

how you use our products and services. This may include your traffic data such as the phone numbers that you call and send messages to (and the phone numbers that you receive calls and messages from) and the date, time, duration and cost of your communications including your phone location at the time these communications are made

the types of websites that you visit, your spend, your device details, your phone usage (including voice, messaging, web/ WAP use, application use), your purchasing habits, your location, third party websites visited, your searching and browsing history on our websites (including the date, time and duration of your internet session) and your preferences your amount of data usage (MBs used) roaming information (the country you are in and the network used when making communications) your internet protocol (IP) address which we collect when you visit our websites and we will allocate an IP address to your device when your connect to the internet using our phone network and/or broadband services

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 01:05 PM
I have to admit to a sense of unease about what these apps have access to on my phone despite the fact that we've been quite content to allow with thew computer for a much longer.

Interestingly though something has occured maybe 5 times since I upgraded to my Samsung Galaxy smartphone that runs android which has never happened in the decade I've been a mobile phone user

I've recieved an sms from my gf and responded to it just to get a reply saying what are you talking about.For example,recently she replied why are you talking about eggs to which I reply you said you had to go back to the shop cos you forgot eggs.The reply I never mentioned eggs at all.

So when I see her next we compare sms.She shows me the txt she sent me (sure enough nothing about eggs) and compare the txt I got which was the same txt yet with the part about the shop and eggs in it.

Very weird and it has happened 4 or 5 times now and only with txts she has sent to me.I have no real answer that explains it satisfactorily but can't help but wonder about the various apps that are allowed to read and edit my messages.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 01:11 PM
Norton Spot for Android is a great tool. I got it for finding which apps have banners and ads, and were installing random things on my Samsung, and I too felt uneasy after reading what all my apps collect. Nearly all of them connect with you personal daily contacts and life. Also nearly all apps can be connected to facebook and so on. Like you said, they need most of them to function as the app needs to, but some just seem out there. I would suggest that you do not check your finances or have any bank apps on your phone. Phones are to easy for people to hack even with a good security system. Mainly because of what you pointed out in this thread. A friend of mine had people using his bank account, and he isn't very smart and didn't check his bank statement for 2 months, when he realized he finally spent no money and he had none in the bank he was surprised to find 3-4 sources were buying things with his bank account, and with no computer, his iphone was most likely the source of the hack.

I just overlook what my apps are doing, if "they" want to spy on me, they will. I have nothing to hide. Might be embarrassed or feel an invasion of privacy, but big brother put these devices out here just like facebook, so they can always see and listen in on us with the camera/mic, and have a lengthy list of data to learn more about each and everyone of us and what we really do when we think no one is watching. Will they use this against us someday? Unless martial law and FEMA camps come into play, just don't be a criminal and I figure what I do on my phone won't hurt me.

Do you ever wonder what your XBOX's Kinect is recording when you are or aren't using it? Unplug that from the XBOX unless your are using it. But think about how many people are on some database somewhere smoking weed playing harmless video games.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 01:22 PM
reply to post by fastbob72

My worry is that something on a grander scale, but similar to your egg example could occur.

Who is exaclty is monitering our communications and why modify them?

I was watching a program called Apocolypse by an illusionist from England by the name of Derren Brown, who drip fed information about an upcoming meteroite strike to an unsuspecting victim by his mobile phone and bogus tv news telecasts. What is to say that if an event of this nature was truely happening, any evidence of this in the electronic media can just be erased. In the show they hacked into his phone to do this, but due to the app permissions that we are allowing, it can be done without physical access to our phones.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 03:20 PM

Originally posted by jamesthegreat
reply to post by fastbob72

My worry is that something on a grander scale, but similar to your egg example could occur.

Who is exaclty is monitering our communications and why modify them?

I have no evidence yet, after I unwind I may research into it, but it would seem there are "clouds" of data. There may be private and government sectors, but they most likely all are accessible by different agencies and parts of government; along with for commercial use. In any case it is like a study, to see what we do, what we say, who we are talking to so they can keep on updating and have a record of our digital history.

Where it seems to me that we are becoming a police state, is that if anyone is pulled over or busted for a DUI or anything drug related, there are people with ways of pulling up all the information from your phone/cloud and saying "Ok, you deleted your call log and inbox, so we pulled up your information and found incriminating evidence through texts and calls."

An old friend of mine, and am I in no way friends with any of them once they started using and dealing, her boyfriend became a hard drug dealer, was crazy, chased an ex down with his car, hit and run on some random old man walking down the side of the road, their child had bruises and when they came to take the child found a lot of drugs and arrested them both. They were released on bail. Days later he was up on a mountain somewhere and made a last phone call to someone before lighting his car on fire with himself inside. The police arrived on scene in a matter of minutes to bust a drug deal. They found a burning car with remains inside.

Now in that case, ok good that they were watching him. But do they do this for everyone? Maybe. Are they going to bust down your door for actions you made with your smart phone? Probably not.

Like I said before, most of those apps are harmless and just collect data to function, or improve upon.

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 04:14 PM
Root your android and get a permission blocker,problem solved.

posted on Mar, 8 2013 @ 03:57 AM
reply to post by jamesthegreat

When are people going to realise that modern phones are just early model RIFD chips in the arm. instead of wearing it you carry it. Don't worry, newer models will be small and fit under the skin.

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