Thursday, December 23, 2010

They Say Those Closest to You Can Tell The Most About You - Did You Expect it to be Your Smartphone?

Your digital life is in your pocket, your smartphone.

Your smartphone holds:
Phone Numbers
Current Location
Unique Smartphone ID number

You take your phone everywhere.  In some regards, it may know more about you than your spouse or best friend.

So what happens when your phone blabs all your information or secrets everytime it connects to the internet?

The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed 101 smartphone apps for the iPhone and Android phones.

56 of the 101 apps transmitted the Unique Smartphone ID number to other companies without direct consent of the phone owner.  That unique number is tied to you as the owner.  That ID number gets segmented and mashed-up with other demographics to where a trained marketer could probably guess exactly "who" you are.

5 of the 101 apps sent age, gender, and other personal details.

If you use any of the following, you might want to think twice:
TextPlus 4
Paper Toss
Pumpkin Maker

Who is buying this data?  Google is one of the biggest receivers of this information.  They use it to power AdMob, AdSense, Analytics, and DoubleClick.

Even the delightful past time of playing Angry Birds sends your phone's ID to Electronic Arts, Inc.  They say it is not shared further.

The app makers say they don't pass along your name.  Makes me remember asking who dug into the appetizers on the table before company arrived and my son said, "Mom, someone in this house did it and I don't want to say his name but the person's name rhymes with bad."  He didn't actually say "Dad" but I had enough data to know who he was talking about.


"Your Apps Are Watching You", A WSJ Investigation finds that iPhone and Android apps are breaching the privacy of smartphone users, Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane, Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2010.

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