These Android Apps Could Secretly Be Recording Your Screen

Leaky apps

Leaky apps

Like good scientists, they refuse to say that their study definitively proves that your phone isn't secretly listening to you, but they didn't find a single instance of it happening. Your phone may not be listening to you, but it's snitching on you in a host of other ways. Of course, to be certain, the study doesn't prove that no app listens to you - just, that they found none doing so in study.

The researchers tested over 17,000 of the most popular Android apps, including some of Facebook's, and found that more than half of those had permissions to access the device's camera and microphone, The Verge reported. Their primary focus was to check whether any media files were being sent to the third party.

The apps included Facebook and its subsidiaries along with more than 8,000 apps that send information to Facebook.

The research group found no evidence that that the applications were capturing or sending audio when not prompted by the user.

The National Security Agency is deleting millions of phone call and text records it wasn't authorized to keep; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Washington.


People have believed that their phones have secretly been listening to them to gather data for targeted advertising, building a myth that a bunch of computer science academics at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, made a decision to look into. This is another limitation of the study, as the bot was not able to perform all human-level activity, like creating usernames and passwords.

While this is common practice - and plenty of apps use analytics companies to improve the app's performance - there wasn't anything in GoPuff's privacy policy that mentioned it.

In one example, Gizmodo reported, the popular USA delivery app GoPuff recorded and sent screen recordings to a mobile analytics company called AppSee. But AppSee's CEO told Gizmodo that the company's terms prohibit customers from tracking any personal data and customers have to disclose that they're using it. On questioning the developer, GoPuff immediately updated its policy and mentioned the same.

Google Play notes that all apps are required to "post a privacy policy that, together with any in-app disclosures, explain what user data your app collects and transmits, how it's used, and the types of parties with whom it's shared".

We find a previously unreported privacy risk from third-party libraries. Usually, the proof is that you talked about something with a friend and then suddenly there's an ad for it.

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