Posted November 21, 2016 by Garth Holden in News

University study reveals thousands of Android apps lack privacy policy


Carnegie Mellon University just finished a study of 18,000 free apps in Google’s Play Store. Of these, almost 9,000 of the apps didn’t have any privacy policy while 41% of apps could gather location information without disclosing it. 17% could share that data with third parties. This violates the Play Store’s guidelines.

The researchers used an automated system with natural language processing and machine learning to delve through the pages of privacy policies. It then looked through the code of the apps to see if it behaved in a way that suggested it shared personal information. The system then checked whether the data collection and sharing being done was consistent with the privacy policy.

The CMU is now working with Californian authorities to modify the system to detect if an app violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. CMU professor of computer science Norman Sadeh  said that the automated system might miss data that a human would catch, and could possibly flag an inconsistency in an app when there isn’t a problem.

The fact that so many apps are invading privacy, breaking the Play Store’s guidelines and in some places breaking laws is troubling.

Source: Tom’s Hardware

Garth Holden

I like so many things that it would take me several lifetimes to get through them all. So I tell you about them, so you can choose where your time and money gets spent.