“Mobile privacy safeguards should also extend to third-party application developers, two lawmakers said after reviewing the practices of four major U.S. wireless carriers.
Representatives Edward Markey and Joe Barton, co-chairs of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, released on Thursday letters they received from Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp and T-Mobile in response to their inquiries last month about the collection, use and storage of location data.
The letters showed the wireless carriers generally asked customers before accessing their location data. But developers of popular mobile phone applications were less than forthcoming about their tracking.”
From The Globe and Mail
Posts tagged “Mobile security”
“Privacy, security and the possibility of being tracked across the web by advertisers are all big issues for users of the desktop internet. And now, with mobile phones more sophisticated than ever, the same issues are causing concern for the large percentage of consumers who carry around a wealth of personal data all the time.
Online privacy service provider TRUSTe and Harris Interactive surveyed US smartphone owners in February 2011 about their concerns when using mobile devices. Their top concern about mobile applications was privacy, followed by security.”
“Owners of mobile smartphones are set to be protected from hackers by revolutionary software that has been developed by a British firm specializing in computer security.
The firm – called Lolla (lolla.org.uk) – will also offer a bespoke service to celebrities who fear their phones may have been targeted by hackers. ‘The new software allows us to repel hacks to mobile phones, as well as encrypt voice and text between protected devices,’ explained a spokesman for Lolla.
A premium version of this service is being aimed at the A-list and celebrity market. For a monthly fee – yet to be announced – the firm guarantee that their security team monitors a phone and computer system for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
From Daily Mail
“You know the dangers of identity theft and make sure that you shred old bills and receipts before dumping them in the trash, but how do you protect your Smartphone? Since your Blackberry, Android or iPhone device is capable of a whole range of conveniences – browsing the Internet, online purchasing and banking – your Smartphone is actually a pocket-sized holder of all the sensitive information you’ve been trying so hard to keep from prying eyes.
Recent studies have found that modern users aren’t nearly as careful with a phone as they should be, particularly if it’s used for these types of activities. A recent report by CPP found that 54% of second-hand phones contained personal data such as text messages, emails and bank details –a wakeup call for consumers. Loss or theft is a common concern as well, and without sufficient protection, a stranger can easily grab web site logins, passwords and credit card details that can be used to carry out transactions and register for services in your name.”
“Add Microsoft Windows Phone 7 to the list of mobile operating systems that silently transmit the precise physical location of the device back to a central database.
CNET reported the location tracking on Monday, almost a week after reports of similar tracking in Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile OS raised concerns that smartphones could be used by police, civil litigants, or abusive spouses to track an owner’s movements over extended periods of time.
When location services for Windows phones are switched on, the devices transmit a unique ID along with nearby wireless networks, their signal strength, and GPS-extracted location to the company’s servers. However, Windows phones don’t store any of the locations on the device itself.”
From The Register
“Apple Inc. denied Wednesday that iPhones store a record of their users’ movements for up to a year and blamed privacy concerns partly on a misunderstanding.
A data file publicized by security researchers last week doesn’t store users’ locations, but a list of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in their general area, the company said. Apple said the data are stored for up to a year because of a software error. The company said there’s no need to store data for more than seven days, and a software update in the next few weeks will limit the amount of data in that file.”
From The Globe and Mail
“It didn’t take long for the blogosphere to respond to research presented on Wednesday that detailed a file in Apple iPhones and iPads unknown to the vast majority of its users that stored a long list of their time-stamped locations, sometimes with alarming detail.
On Thursday, a forensics expert who sells software to law enforcement agencies gave a first-hand account why scrutiny of the location-tracking database is crucial. Alex Levinson, a forensics expert specializing in mobile devices, blogged that “geolocational artifacts were one of the single most important forensic vectors found on” the devices. As a result, he wrote a proprietary program called Lantern that law enforcement agencies use to actively examine the contents of the iPhone location database.”
From The Register
“Wondering why your iPhone and 3G-enabled iPad are storing your general location in an easily accessible database on your PC? It’s simple. Apple uses this information to build a cell tower and Wi-Fi access point location database, and the company admitted as much last year.
The only troubling thing, however, is that Apple said in the letter that it encrypts your location data before sending it back to company servers. But the database on your computer is sitting there unencrypted in an easily discoverable location. This means the database is a potential target for malware or even law enforcement if the authorities should decide to seize and search your PC. Apple will need to do a better job of protecting this data in future iOS updates now that its existence has been well publicized.”
From PC World
“Many functions on Apple’s wildly popular iPhone and iPad rely on users’ physical locations to deliver services like real-time maps, and location-based social networking and commercial offerings.
However, unbeknownst to most users, the devices are storing that information in a hidden file, two British researchers announced Wednesday at the Where 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, Calif., 72 kilometers (45 miles) south of San Francisco.
“There is still the question of when Apple gets access to this data, if ever,” Gus Hosein, the deputy director of the London-based advocacy group, Privacy International, told Deutsche Welle. “Apple seriously screwed up here. It’s time we start keeping an eye on what all these smart phone operating systems are doing. I don’t know how, but over the years, location data has suddenly become fair game.””
From Deutsche Welle
“If people want to know everything about you, they need look no further than your smartphone. It contains a host of your personal information and leaves a trail of digital footprints everywhere you go.
A proposed class-action lawsuit filed last week alleges that Apple and a handful of app makers are invading user privacy by accessing personal data from customers’ smartphones without permission and sharing it with third-party advertisers.
Concurrently, federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether several smartphone app makers, including Pandora, are transmitting customer information without proper disclosure.”