App Privacy and Controls

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Research into privacy, security, and information controls of popular applications.

Latest Research

Fit Leaking: Citizen Lab Research on Fitness Tracker Privacy

The post covers several categories of information that can be gleaned from examining Strava’s fitness tracker data, ranging from enabling the identification of secret military facilities in “dark areas” to specific identifiable behaviour patterns of at-risk individuals.

Secure Your Chats: Why Encrypted Messaging Matters

End-to-end encrypted messaging is effective at protecting the content of your messages from being read as they travel across the Internet to your friends and family. This is why the Citizen Lab has released Secure Your Chats: a Net Alert resource that outlines how to safely use end-to-end encryption.

Safer Without: Korean Child Monitoring and Filtering Apps

South Korea requires minors to have content filtering apps installed on their phones. A security audit of two child monitoring apps—Cyber Security Zone and Smart Dream—finds serious security and privacy issues that put children at risk.

Analysis of End-to-End Encryption in LINE

Researchers from the University of New Mexico and the Citizen Lab provide the first independent analysis of popular messaging app LINE’s end-to-end encryption security features and discuss gaps in communication between researchers, developers and users.

不能说的秘密:新浪微博和微信上被过滤的“709追捕”

本报告属于多伦多大学蒙克全球事物学院公民实验室对微信和新浪微博信息审查的研究系列。通过一系列测试,研究者发现了在这两个平台上被审查过滤的与“709追捕”相关的关键词和图片。与公民实验室过去的研究结果相同,审查以不透明的形式进行。

We (can’t) Chat: “709 Crackdown” Discussions Blocked on Weibo and WeChat

This report analyzes the information control practices related to a national crackdown on Chinese rights lawyers and activists on two leading Chinese social media networks. We document the Search filtering on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, as well as keyword and image censorship on WeChat, the most popular chat app in China.

Cashless Society, Cached Data: Security Considerations for a Chinese Social Credit System

The second post in this series examines a Chinese mobile payment app feature increasingly covered in foreign media: testing of what may one day be a nationwide official social credit system to replace its traditional analog counterpart. Our exploration of potential security, privacy, and other issues of such a system is meant to raise questions that can inform discussions about how it will evolve.

Cashless Society, Cached Data: Are Mobile Payment Systems Protecting Chinese Citizens’ Data?

This research series presents an in-depth examination of mobile payment systems, a rapidly evolving form of financial technology. We will provide an overview of how they are used in China–where they are taking off faster than anywhere else in the world–and what implications their security and data protection practices may have for millions of users, by presenting a case study on Alipay.