Rethinking Permissions in Android Apps
Olmstead, Kenneth McDonnell
As mobile devices have become a part of everyday life issues of privacy have become increasingly important to consumers, governments, and companies. Each company that provides mobile devices and platforms (e.g. Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft) has made its own decisions on how to inform users of information the device is collecting. The primary way users interact with modern mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) is through apps. This study looked at how Google handles notifying users about what information is being collected by apps downloaded from the Google Play Store. Google uses a set of "permissions" that user's must agree to before downloading and using an app. The study looked at the permissions of 1,300 apps in the Google Play Store to determine what permissions users are agreeing to and how they are organized. From this dataset this study offers a set of recommendations on how permissions could better inform users, help app developers understand their role, and help Google improve permissions.
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