Everyone may think that mobile applications are nothing else than what they said. The truth is that mobile applications are not what you think of. From the moment that you download an app on your mobile phone it automatically have some kind of access to your personal information and at the same time they have also access to many of your features. The worst thing of this kind of access is that these applications do not inform you of how they will use your personal data. It is something that Information Commissioner’s Office, ICO has stated.
A recent study of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) stated that almost 85% of the apps will not explain you how they have this kind of access and how they collected. So, based on all the above UK’s ICO stated: “Today’s results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer, the ICO and the other GPEN members will be writing to those developers where there is clear room for improvement. We will also be publishing guidance to explain the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps.” These were the exact words of Simon Rice ICO’S group manager for technology.
It is sure that the specific study forced more than 49% to take some second thoughts about downloading an app and at the same time 62% concerns about the apps that they have already download. ICO suggests and in a way it forces the application developers to find a way to keep the private information of their users private. In small words they say that they must create a safety pattern that will have the ability to inform their users about their access and this will definitely be something that will comply with the laws that refer to privacy and protection.
A researcher called Stephen Murdoch says: “Often privacy leaks from mobile apps don’t come from the app itself, but from the advertisements which are added.” He also said: “Quite frequently the people who are writing the application don’t understand themselves what the advertisement code is doing.” Last but not least he added: “If you couple it with the fact that the money for these apps are made almost purely through ads – developers don’t want to ask too many questions.” The study that has been mentioned above was performed in almost forty countries and the ICO has managed to examine fifty of the most popular apps of their country.
When this study was performed apart from some bad results, there were some really good news about some other applications that it is a fact that they give some kind of information about the way that they use the data of their users and how they do it. In fact, some of them are giving to their users some links in order to help them understand some of the details better. There is also another category of applications that inform their users about the use of their personal data before the downloading begins.
All in all, it would be a good idea for the next time when you want to download a new application, to give it a second thought and try to learn as more information as it is possible about it. If you do not learn the information that you want, it is possible that the specific application is not as innocent as it may seems. No one says that downloading an app is a bad thing, but it needs to be done with safety and security!