10 top Google apps found to extract personal user details revealed
Ten Google Android mobile phone applications, including the Angry Birds game, have been found to extract personal information of users like their location, contacts and device identifying details.
The other nine applications include Toss It game, Talking Tom virtual pet, Backgrounds HD Wallpapers, Dictionary.com, Mouse Trap game, Horoscope, Shazam music, Brightest Flashlight and Pandora Internet Radio, the Daily Mail reports.
The list, compiled by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, in Pittsburgh, US, was released after analysing the 100 most popular Android applications.
Dr. Jason Wong, a faculty at the university's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, said that although applications such as Google Maps were expected by users to take their personal details, the Angry Birds and the Brightest Flashlight applications came as a complete surprise for a majority of people.
Dr. Wong, who reviewed this list with his colleague, Professor Norman Sadeh, said that the focal point of their research is to help people understand the peculiar behaviour of these applications, and to increase transparency.
Users, who do not know why their details are taken, may be facing potential privacy issues, since they have some level of informed consent, said Dr. Wong.
They would be less suspicious if they were told as to why the information is extracted, he added.
According to Dr. Wong, development of efficient business models to keep user privacy and better policies is necessary for removing the suspicion of users.
Sadeh, however, added that developers of such applications are invited by platforms to collect more than relevant information, which they may use in an improper manner.