Privacy is one of those topics which seems to consistently be in the news. Which, while at times can appear as scaremongering, is understandable. Smartphone owners do care about privacy and with mobile devices now having more access, to more information, than they ever have before, the possibility of that information getting into the hands of the wrong people, or anyone for that matter, is more of a concern than ever.
Now, it does need to be made clear that a lot of the language used in this report consists of ‘could’, ‘might’, and so on. As no apps are specifically mentioned and the study does seem to be clearly saying that these figures are not a firm representation. One of the reasons the study is not being so definitive is that the gathering of this data was conducted through the help of an automated analysis system. As such, the study does point out that there is the possibility that the automated system was not able to actually find the correct privacy policies which would accurately reflect the behavior of the apps - that is, it is not that they don't exist, just the automated system was unable to locate them. Likewise, the study picks up on the fact that it might not necessarily be the case that developers are deceiving app users, but more so, that they might be unaware they are actually collecting and/or sharing data. For instance, Norman Sadeh, one of the researchers involved in the study points out that if an app is using Google Maps, then by association, it is ‘processing location information’ and by using the app, the user is “effectively sharing personal information with Google.”