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News Link • Technology: Software

Tracking How Mobile Apps Track You


Third-party apps are the weakest link in user privacy on smart phones. They often get access to large quantities of user data, and there are few rules covering how they must handle that data once they have it. Worse yet, few third-party apps have a privacy policy telling users what they intend to do.

That was the message delivered at a hearing of the U.S. Senate committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held yesterday. Companies and regulators are struggling to find ways to ensure that user data is handled properly by apps installed on smart phones, but the way apps are designed makes this difficult.

Mobile privacy has come under extreme scrutiny since revelations that Apple's iPhone and Google's Android software collect and store users' location data. Last week, a U.S. Senate subcommittee questioned those two companies on their handling of personal data. This week, Facebook joined Google and Apple on the hot seat.

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