android_miner

Data-Mining Wallpaper Is Not the End of Android

August 4, 2010 - Written By Maddi Hausmann Sojourner

There’s a good tech opinion piece in ComputerWorld about the whole “Android Wallpaper sending all your data to China” controversy.

ComputerWorld?  Didn’t they cover mainframes?  To get with the times, they now they have an Android column.

Columnist JR Raphael recaps the whole incident, from the revelations by Lookout at the Blackhat conference to the overreaction on VentureBeat that was picked up everywhere (including here at AndroidHeadlines).  Wallpapers by developer “jackeey” were collecting phone state data and writing them to a server in China.  But VentureBeat suggested that the wallpaper apps were collecting text messages, passwords, and browsed sites.

Finally Raphael suggests that the wallpaper developer may be simply guilty of bad programming practices rather than an evil hacker.  In an online interview, Jackeey Wu explained that the data transfer was to save user configuration files should their phones crash or get replaced.

Here’s Raphael’s favorite example of the overreaction to the original Lookout report: a Mac-centric site suggesting that Android is unsafe.   And the column concludes that the “solution” to hacked apps is not the walled garden of Apple iOS, but the bright light of exposure.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  — Benjamin Franklin, 1775