(Image Source: Google Play)

BY BREANA JONES

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA



There’s an app for that. But are those apps in your smartphone protecting your privacy? A study released by North Carolina State University says, maybe.  But those in-app ads, probably not.


“Our results show that most existing ad libraries collect private information...invasively collecting the information...Moreover, additional ones go a step further by making use of an unsafe mechanism to directly fetch and run code from the Internet, which immediately leads to serious security risks.”



These ad libraries can be found on most “lite” versions of your favorite games—you play the game for free, and in return watch ads as you play. But there’s a loophole in the Android system. PC Magazine explains.


“The study said that Android's permissions model can't distinguish between actions performed by an ad library and those performed by its hosting app. As a result, "the current Android system provides little indication of the existence of these threats within any given app...”



App privacy has become a hot topic with big names like Twitter and Facebook being sued over the issue. And with this new study, consumers should be concerned with not only the app, but the ads inside them. Mercury News interviewed an attorney who says accessibility to privacy rights is the problem.


"Whether it's terms of service or a privacy policy, some of them are so lengthy that if you spent a day surfing the Web collecting all the terms and policies affecting you, it would take you more than a whole other day to read them all. It's not physically possible.''



Google says it’s trying to protect Android users.  In February, the company debuted Google “Bouncer”—a tool it hopes to use in the fight against malware.


“Here’s how it works: once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags.”




The study says that of the 100,000 apps reviewed, around half contained the potentially dangerous ad libraries.

Study Says In-App Ads Violate Privacy

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Mar 20, 2012

Study Says In-App Ads Violate Privacy

 

(Image Source: Google Play)

BY BREANA JONES

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA



There’s an app for that. But are those apps in your smartphone protecting your privacy? A study released by North Carolina State University says, maybe.  But those in-app ads, probably not.


“Our results show that most existing ad libraries collect private information...invasively collecting the information...Moreover, additional ones go a step further by making use of an unsafe mechanism to directly fetch and run code from the Internet, which immediately leads to serious security risks.”



These ad libraries can be found on most “lite” versions of your favorite games—you play the game for free, and in return watch ads as you play. But there’s a loophole in the Android system. PC Magazine explains.


“The study said that Android's permissions model can't distinguish between actions performed by an ad library and those performed by its hosting app. As a result, "the current Android system provides little indication of the existence of these threats within any given app...”



App privacy has become a hot topic with big names like Twitter and Facebook being sued over the issue. And with this new study, consumers should be concerned with not only the app, but the ads inside them. Mercury News interviewed an attorney who says accessibility to privacy rights is the problem.


"Whether it's terms of service or a privacy policy, some of them are so lengthy that if you spent a day surfing the Web collecting all the terms and policies affecting you, it would take you more than a whole other day to read them all. It's not physically possible.''



Google says it’s trying to protect Android users.  In February, the company debuted Google “Bouncer”—a tool it hopes to use in the fight against malware.


“Here’s how it works: once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags.”




The study says that of the 100,000 apps reviewed, around half contained the potentially dangerous ad libraries.

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