Mobile security firm Lookout has revealed some advertising networks are collecting personal details of mobile app users secretly and now have accesses to over a million smartphone users globally. These unregulated practices are on the rise and the situation expected to get out of proportion by 2015, unless strong preventive measures are enforced immediately in industry guidelines pertaining to app developers and advertisers. Some advertising networks collect phone numbers or email addresses without seeking permission while many other advertisers install icons on home screen to track user whereabouts or place ads on notification bars.
Kevin Mahaffey, Chief and Co-Founder Lookout Technology, “Aggressive ad networks are much more prevalent than malicious applications. It is the most prevalent mobile privacy issue that exists”.
David Gosen, Director, Market Research Nielsen, “If you look at 6 million eyeballs, there is a potential for a Gold Rush”
Anne Bezancon, President of Placecast, “We are in very early days of mobile advertising and models are very much derived from the web where practices have not been very respectful.
Jules Polonetsky, Co-Chairman Future of Privacy Forum,” These guidelines make it clear some practices are out-of-bounds. That’s good for both consumers and responsible businesses. Many apps are ad-supported, there is nothing wrong with it, but users should know what their trade-off is. People want to have confidence and trust that they’re not being compromised while on devices that have access to their most personal information”.