Aggressive ad networks pose mobile privacy risk
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 9 Jul 2012 at 08:52
Aggressive advertising networks have become the biggest risk to mobile data privacy, according to figures from security company Lookout.
The company says networks now have access to data – including contacts and locations – on 80 million handsets around the world, often without informing the user that the information is collected.
“A number of mobile ad providers have adopted aggressive behaviour over the last year, including pushing out-of-app ads, changing browser and desktop settings, and accessing personally identifiable information without suitable notification or transparency,” Lookout said in a blog post.
“Based on Lookout’s analysis, more than 5% of free apps have included aggressive ad networks, affecting millions of people.”
Clearly these aggressive ad techniques fall into the bucket of ‘not kosher’ for the end user, but it’s also a disservice to the entire mobile ecosystem
The company, which has launched a campaign promoting a set of mobile app advertising guidelines, claims adverts fund more than 50% of the apps market but that overly aggressive tactics without disclosure risk sullying the entire industry.
“Clearly these aggressive ad techniques fall into the bucket of ‘not kosher’ for the end user, but it’s also a disservice to the entire mobile ecosystem,” the company said.
"Many of these ad providers also use aggressive mobile ad delivery techniques that can confuse users, like changing bookmark settings or delivering ads outside the context of an individual app."
According to its research on Google Play, personalisation apps, such as desktop wallpapers, were the biggest offenders, with 17% of apps featuring aggressive ad networks. Entertainment (8%) and games (7%) were also high on list of dubious practices.
So the research is on Google Play yet the photo is a Windows Phone. Really? Looking at their blog they encourage user to download their Ad Network Detecor; from Google Play. No mention of Windows Phone anywhere!!!
By stephen_d_morris on 9 Jul 2012
Oh well once I realized how much adds I got from so called Apps I had a faint interest in ..I just deinstalled them and got rid of the Cxxpware.
what shocked me also is that since I granted access to my twitter feed some apps were tweeting spam on my behalf...now I steer clear and install only Apps I really need and if I get unwanted Spam I delete them straight ahead...
By aralerm on 9 Jul 2012
It really IS the wrong photo....
There may be similar Apps on WP7 or iOS, but that's not the point, nor the raison d'etre of the software. Android is different.
Google is an advertising company, not a technology one.
The reason its various services and Android are largely 'free' to punters is becuase Google profits from selling users' data and advertising space to third parties.
'Apps' are a very clever Trojan horse. Transparency is the key: A simple list of precisely WHICH data are being exported from your device, devoid of legalese would help people decide if they wanted to partake of these various Faustian pacts.....
By wittgenfrog on 9 Jul 2012
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