XXI century is the century of mobile applications and various social networks by interests. Worrying about the safety of the data of their users, developers from all over the world are testing new ways to protect and encrypt the data, thus improving the experience. Wanting to check the popular instant messengers and Internet browsers for security, Professor David Choffnes conducted a unique study comparing free apps and web services on mobile devices Android and iOS from the perspective of protecting user privacy. In particular, the team Choffnes investigated the degree of leakage of user information — from date of birth and location to the password to advertisers and businesses for data analysis.
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According to an article published on the portal esciencenews.coma study conducted in USA, showed that despite the assumptions of experts that mobile applications are missing a lot more of certain identifiers of the individual compared with Internet browsers, in real life it came out a little differently. It was revealed that web sites can transfer different types of information in almost 40 percent of cases. However, researchers have shown that the level of leakage varies greatly depending on the platform. So, if the web sites often are inclined to collect data about the user’s location, applications for smart phones “collect” a unique identification number of the mobile devices.
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Despite the fact that the causes of intentional leaks are most often absolutely legitimate, users sometimes have no idea that they provided data is used by some third party that collects data on a potential client. Data such as location, user name, gender and date of birth, email address and even the password from the e-mail often fall into the hands of third-party services, sometimes even completely unknown to the Internet user. However, David Choffnes and his team believe that currently there is no single answer to the question, what platform is best suited for all users. To such conclusion scientists have come after the analysis of 50 most popular free online services in various categories which included the most well-known entertainment and business applications.
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The authors hope that the obtained results will allow to start a dialogue between consumers and online services, about the types of information that should be gathered, balancing the needs of users and the necessary level of confidentiality.