New study shows privacy risks of pre-installed Android apps

25 Mar 2019

An international study of pre-installed Android apps highlight the privacy and security risks posed by pre-installed Android apps. According to TechCrunch, the study unearths ‘a complex ecosystem of players with a primary focus on advertising and “data-driven services” — which they argue the average Android user is unlikely to be unaware of’. In El Pais, the authors of the study indicate that they created the app Firmware Scanner to pick up pre-installed software on mobile phones of volunteers, to see how personal data can be sent to a broad network of interested parties.

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Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.


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