Back of the Envelope

Dear iPhone Users: Your Apps Are Spying on You

However, in the Pinch Media's case, the user tracking goes a bit further according to one iPhone developer. He says applications using Pinch Media track the following information:. What's worse is that you're often never told that the app will be performing this level of detailed tracking and you're often never given the opportunity to opt-out. The data recorded is continuously tracked every time you use the application.

This violation of user privacy is so egregious that the developer even goes so far as to call Pinch Media "iPhone spyware. In addition, a recent post on the iPhone Dev Team blog , the site hosted by the developers who release the jailbreaking and unlocking applications for the iPhone, also calls out Pinch Media for tracking your location even when it's unnecessary to do so. In the example they cited, an tip calculator app was identified as tracking your geographical location through time and uploading that data to Pinch Media.

However, in the comments of the blog post, one developer using Pinch Media analytics fights back, claiming that his applications do request permission before gathering statistics. He bristles at the suggestion that they should be called "spyware.

iPhone Spyware Demonstration

Pinch Media is also frustrated by these accusations. They argue that "no location can be sent back without the user's explicit opt-in Since you have to press a button that explicitly allows the application to access your location, how could this possibly be without the user's consent? They even hint that the blogger's motivations are less about exposing user privacy violations and more about retaliating against the company because Pinch Media recently launched tools which allow developers to identify pirated aka stolen applications.

Customer satisfaction is the highest priority for mSpy. I also like that I can adjust settings, deciding which contacts, sites or apps to block or allow. I can also block any suspicious contacts, if such occur.

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Comments (most recent first)

And mSpy helps me keep an eye on my daughter when I cannot be close to her. I highly recommend it! And a friend of mine recommended me mSpy. I like it! It helps me guardian my children in the stormy sea of internet. The app is ostensibly intended for legal monitoring use, and there are certainly legitimate reasons to install the software. Sim card cell phone data extractor sexting reader spy tool. Phone Support! What is mspy?

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How it works. Use the full power of mobile tracking software Monitor messengers Get the full access to chats and messengers of a tracked device. Store your data Securely store, backup and export your data. View our pricing. Monitor with mSpy mSpy for phones mSpy for computers. Owen, USA. Elijah, Canada. And I bet most of these send some or all of the same data Pinch Media is sending. Comparing this to an old fashioned desktop ask that requires permission every time it talks to the net is simply a wrong comparison.

I also know that no matter what anyone says, some people will just be against the idea of any app sending any information for any purpose without express permission. Personally, I feel that is dogmatic, rather than pragmatic. Furthermore, Apple has taken app security pretty seriously. All 3rd party apps run in a very strict sandbox. Other than the information described above device id, hardware and software versions, etc.

There are, of course hooks into other apps, such as the Photo Library and Contacts, but these require user interaction and permission. Spyware is intentionally malicious software, or malware. Malware is often illegal and almost universally frowned upon. To call any legitimate analytics package spyware is completely unfair. Analytics sends aggregated anonymous data. In my book, that is not malicious by any stretch of the imagination.

The general problem here is that one company accumulates information on my device id. Pretty much get my personal profile of preferences and habits. This is my personal information and in worst case I should be paid if I choose to expose myself. However it is the same currently companies doing with your banking, loyalty card data to provide you with targeted adverts.

One of the early multiplayer games was doing that to help you find your friends and removed the feature after complaints. No doubt, malicious developers can and will find ways to do malicious things. This is not about what could be done. If I found out that Pinch Media was doing something malicious, I would be the first to call them out on it. When data comes in the door, we take it and aggregate it into a variety of reports. The raw data itself is backed up and securely stored so the aggregated tables can be recreated in case of emergency.

No, absolutely not. Assuming what they say on their site is true, I see nothing malicious. I dont pay money to access webpages so i have to suck it up if the do all kinds of fancy tracking. Did i only hire some right to use it or did i actually buy ownership? Why is it still sending data to the developer after i paid money to have that app? Did i pay money to let him sneak my usage info around? An opt-out would be honest.


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Why would any given user agree to sharing that information? Thanks for the article, Keith.

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Great. Now Even Your Headphones Can Spy on You

I think we need such analytics options so that content developers can better understand their audiences. But it has to work in a way that the audiences find comfortable, too. Lots of work left to do. Your blog here is pretty clean, just notifying pistach. In other words, we may already be in the position of the crab in the kettle on the slowly-heating stove….

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I think a lot of the pain is in not knowing what the site or service is doing… having to wonder, to guess, about what data is being sent and how it is used. Does this seem plausible to you too…? So please understand I am not trying to bash either of you. But I am concerned. Any device that shares its uniqueness is a little scary. If Apple is serious about privacy they should hash the deviceID with the appID and send that value instead.