Sep 17, 2012Science and Technology
CSAIL study illuminates shady smartphone app tracking

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory evaluated 36 commonly used smartphone applications. Principle investigator Hal Abelson and his grad students found that "most" applications gather pretty extensive information about their users -- even when the application is not active. The MIT Decentralized Information Group hopes to improve transparency in our increasingly digitized world, as monitoring by third parties becomes more and more prevalent. “Our group stresses the importance of transparency, and the right people have to be informed about how their information is being used. We feel that it is important for people to be able to evaluate the privacy risk they are facing,” said graduate student Fuming Shih. “You should be informed that when you turn off your phone’s screen that some smart phone apps are still collecting information.”

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