"The results of a study conducted by researchers from Duke
University, Penn State University, and Intel Labs have revealed
that a significant number of popular Android applications transmit
private user data to advertising networks without explicitly asking
or informing the user. The researchers developed a piece of
software called TaintDroid that uses dynamic taint analysis to
detect and report when applications are sending potentially
sensitive information to remote servers.
"They used TaintDroid to test 30 popular free Android
applications selected at random from the Android market and found
that half were sending private information to advertising servers,
including the user's location and phone number. In some cases, they
found that applications were relaying GPS coordinates to remote
advertising network servers as frequently as every 30 seconds, even
when not displaying advertisements. These findings raise concern
about the extent to which mobile platforms can insulate users from
unwanted invasions of privacy."
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