Android apps selling user data to advertisers?

After reading this article over at Arstechnica I found myself with a giant itch that needed scratching. Have you ever noticed that the only people complaining about walled gardens are developers, and not consumers? Do you want to know why that is? People don’t want developers selling off their information to the highest bidder whenever they feel like it. People are happy that someone’s got their best interests in mind, however inefficient the process might be to get an app approved. Personally I’m glad Apple vets applications and protects us from the malicious practices that are going on over on the Android phone.

Don’t believe me? Duke University, Penn State, and Intel Labs teamed up to study Android applications transmission of personal information to marketers. Guess what they found, out of 30 popular free Android applications, selected at random, half of them were sending “private information to advertising servers, including the user’s location and phone number…In some cases, they found that the applications were relaying GPS coordinates to remote advertising network servers as frequently as every 30 seconds, even when not displaying advertisements.” How’s that for an open, and evil-free phone. Google might not vet the applications on their android store, but the “don’t be evil” moniker when out the window years ago.

So, the next time someone starts bitching about Apple’s walled garden, ask them how they feel about applications updating marketing servers every thirty seconds with their location, name, and personal information. When they look at you dumbfounded, point them in the direction of this article, then ask them if a wall-less garden is the best situation for consumers. Then ask them how well it worked out for them with Windows XP, that should shut them up for a while.

Article Via Daring Fireball

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio