A shock in the dark: Flashlight app tracks your location

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    Jan 16, 2013 1:47 PM GMT
    As do these other Android apps. No mention is made of iPhone in this article, but some of those apps do, too, though Apple seems to exercise greater control over 3rd-party app developers.

    http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/15/16530607-a-shock-in-the-dark-flashlight-app-tracks-your-location?lite
  • Medjai

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    Jan 16, 2013 11:00 PM GMT
    On iPhone, you should be able to modify what has access to location data, even when not jail broken. I think.
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    Jan 16, 2013 11:38 PM GMT
    I don't know about on the phones, but on my Nexus7 I can turn off the location access. I usually leave it off unless I need something like Google maps.
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    Jan 16, 2013 11:54 PM GMT
    It's not the location data that bothers me so much (most of the time) but many of those apps steal your whole address book.
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    Jan 17, 2013 12:40 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidIt's not the location data that bothers me so much (most of the time) but many of those apps steal your whole address book.

    Do they? Which ones? In iOS?
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    Jan 17, 2013 1:02 AM GMT
    Some of the apps that have been caught at it include Hipster, Path, Pandora, Yelp, Foursquare, Angry Birds, and Foodspotting.

    Here's a story from a year ago. And another with more creepy links. Such as this interactive chart from the WSJ.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 17, 2013 1:33 AM GMT
    I Phone? What's that? My android apps are better.
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    Jan 17, 2013 1:47 AM GMT
    ART_DECO saidAs do these other Android apps. No mention is made of iPhone in this article, but some of those apps do, too, though Apple seems to exercise greater control over 3rd-party app developers.

    http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/15/16530607-a-shock-in-the-dark-flashlight-app-tracks-your-location?lite


    Just before you install an app on android, you are told about the privilege the app require (the kind of functionality it access on your phone).

    An app asking something it obviously doesn't need is a red flag and should not be installed.

    The principle is that an android app can't do something without declaring it will do it, and that declaration is available to user before downloading.

    So it's legit for a social network app to demand access to your contact list, but not for a screen saver.

    I mostly check SMS sending privileged, to avoid rogue app sending surtaxed sms.


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    Jan 17, 2013 1:53 AM GMT
    EEEK! I just removed Brightest Flashlight!
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    Jan 17, 2013 1:56 AM GMT
    Oh, Christ, Art_Deco, enough already.

    You have Apple on the brain, and it is beyond tired.

    Apple apps do the same thing, and Apple certainly doesn't exercise any greater control over third party developers than Google. You can easily disable the ability of these apps to track your location. Better yet, you can keep your GPS function turned off across the board on Android with ease via a single icon on the home screen, unlike Apple that requires a series of steps per app.
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    Jan 17, 2013 3:18 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidSome of the apps that have been caught at it include Hipster, Path, Pandora, Yelp, Foursquare, Angry Birds, and Foodspotting.

    Here's a story from a year ago. And another with more creepy links. Such as this interactive chart from the WSJ.


    That WSJ link is interesting. I don't use any of that stuff and I keep my location (but for 911) off on my phone unless I'm out of town and using GPS. I've got a friend who won't even use electric highway pay passes.

    That's a little scary that these guys are tracking app users. That means they would also be able to track who your personal associates are if they have similar tracking apps. Just imagine if fascism ever kicks in big time. They'd start off with a crap load of into on people.

    If they track longitude and latitude they probably also check altitude which means for some of you, if they haven't already gleamed the info off your grindrs, they already know who's been topping and who's been bottoming. So a warning for those who enjoy tricking outdoors: leave your phones in the car.
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    Jan 17, 2013 5:02 AM GMT
    Just a guess here.. But some of these apps gather your location data in order to serve you relevant ads. Kinda pointless to display a banner ad for a car dealer in Los Angeles, when your actual location is in Canada.

    Also, the thing with Apple is that they're less transparent about what these apps have access to. With Android, you're given a list of permissions that the app has access to. You can then choose to continue to install or cancel.