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Understanding Mobile Apps: What types of data can apps access?

Source: OnGuard Online

What types of data can apps access?

When you sign up with an app store or download individual apps you may be asked for your permission to let them access information on your device. Some apps may be able to access your phone and email contacts, call logs, internet data, calendar data, data about the device’s location, the device’s unique IDs, and information about how you use the app itself. Some apps access only the data they need to function, but others access data that’s not related to the purpose of the app.

If you’re providing information when you’re using the device, someone may be collecting it – whether it’s the app developer, the app store, an advertiser or an ad network. And if they’re collecting your data, they may share it with other companies.

How can I tell what information an app will access or share?
It’s not always easy to know what data a specific app will access, or how it will be used. Before you download an app, consider what you know about who created it and what it does. The app stores may include information about the company that developed the app – if the developer provides it. If the developer doesn’t provide contact information – like a website or an email address – the app may be less trustworthy.

If you’re using an Android operating system, you will have an opportunity to read the “permissions” just before you install an app. Do it. It’s useful information that tells you what information the app will access on your device. Ask yourself whether the permissions make sense given the purpose of the app; for example, there’s no reason for an e-book or “wallpaper” app to read your text messages.

Source: OnGuardOnline.gov is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.

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