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‘Your smartphone is watching you’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 July 2010)

July 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I wonder how many of us know about this.

‘Your smartphone is watching you’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 July 2010)

Australian security experts, consumer advocates and privacy campaigners have sounded the alarm over the hundreds of thousands of free smartphone applications that spy on their users.

Lookout, a smartphone security firm based in San Francisco, scanned nearly 300,000 free applications for Apple’s iPhone and phones built around Google’s Android software. It found that many of them secretly pull sensitive data off users’ phones and ship them off to third parties without notification.

Privacy is a major concern with the increasing popularity of mobile internet telephony devices.  The trouble is that smartphones like the Apple iPhone are actually a computer, but many people don’t think realise that.  For instance, many users of Windows computers install firewall on their computers.  However, hardly ever any user would install firewall on their smartphones.  In fact, quite often they are not popularly available.

The fact that Electronic Frontier Foundation, a e-privacy advocacy group, is considering whether this situation involves a breach of the Privacy Act suggests that our laws has not caught up with this technological development.  Not surprising, since there is hardly any public awareness of this issue, as shown by the subsequent poll on the article.

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