Alert for Smart Phone Users, How Their Data is Extracted by Apps Via Location Tracking

Alert for Smart Phone Users, How Their Data is Extracted by Apps Via Location Tracking

With more mobile apps entering the new world of smartphone users, only a few know about the dangers of the gizmo. A recent report demonstrated that enabling apps with required permissions and accessing these apps could contribute to the leakage of personal data via the phone tracking feature. The privacy impacts of some of the permissions provided to apps and services are not known by mobile users and researchers were able to classify what kind of data is being obtained from apps with tracking feature. 

Two researchers from the University of Bologna, Italy, and Benjamin Baron from University College London, UK, are indeed studying how the processing of these data could constitute an invasion of consumer privacy. To this end, the investigators have built a smartphone app – TrackingAdvisor – which captures user location simultaneously. The app may collect personal information from the same data and request users to provide input about the validity of information in terms of data sensitivity and to rate its importance. 

“Users are largely unaware of the privacy implications of some permissions they grant to apps and services, in particular when it comes to location-tracking information”, said Mirco Musolesi from the University of Bologna. 

These data contain confidential information, including the user's place of residence, preferences, desires, demographics, and personality information. Published in the ACM Proceedings for Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Devices, via the TrackingAdvisor application used in the report, researchers were able to identify what personal information the software gathered and how vulnerable it is to privacy. 

The TrackingAdvisor app monitored more than 2,00,000 locations, found nearly 2,500, and collected over 5,000 pieces of personality and demographic data. Researchers discovered, among the data obt ..