– Big Brother iPhone Patriot App Turns Users Into Government Spies
Drawback? Most programmes for smartphones, such as this iPhone, send data back to companies that sold them
Dozens of popular iPhone apps are secretly monitoring users and sending information back to companies – who then use it to target them with adverts.
More than half of the programmes and games for smartphones sent data back to the private companies once they had been downloaded, a study found.
The apps include the wildly popular Angry Birds game and music identifying software Shazam, which comes pre-installed on every iPhone.
Armed with this information firms including Google track the individuals’ movements and sell personalised adverts for which they can make more money than regular ones.
The study found that of 101 apps tested, 56 transmitted the phone’s individual number to a private company in some way, known as the Unique Device Identifier or UDID.
Some 47 sent the phone’s location and five sent age, gender and other personal information.
More data was sent back about a user’s location on the Apple’s iPhone than Google’s Android smartphone, the research discovered, even though both companies have promised not to let such practices take place.
The research was carried out in the U.S. but it would apply to users downloading apps from anywhere in the world.
Read moreHow Your Smartphone is Keeping Track of You: Apps Secretly Monitor Users