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MIT Finds Android Apps Still Collect User Data Even After Shutdown

by Adriana Lee | September 8, 2012September 8, 2012 8:00 am PST

Angry birds space

According to a new study, several Android apps have been found to continue tracking user data even after the apps were closed.

MIT researchers evaluated 36 popular Android apps and found that many do indeed collect information, such as GPS, Wi-Fi location data, Web browsing histories and addressbook contacts, despite users closing the applications and moving on to use others. The list includes Rovio, maker of Angry Birds, the developer of the Bowman Android game app and popular mobile-messaging app WhatsApp.

The research focused on Android, as it’s an open platform and easy to tweak to record the actions of applications there, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that others aren’t vulnerable to this practice. Still, even in that case, the cause for alarm may not need to be too extreme: After all, any egregious privacy violations could result in an application’s removal from Google Play.

Be that as it may, privacy wonks could be up in arms over this — not so much for the data tracking, but that it would happen after a user could reasonably expect that any data collecting would cease with an app’s shutdown.

Are you concerned about privacy issues with your usage of mobile apps? Or does the prospect of these applications tracking your location or other data not concern you, as it’s just a facet of modern life? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

[Via Geek.comBoston Globe]

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...