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Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) is the center of attention in Australia, where new privacy issues and the protection o...
Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) is the center of attention in Australia, where new privacy issues and the protection of personal information in the digital era are being discussed. When it comes to privacy, recent reports show that 74% of Australians reported a concern about their online privacy and 70% think that websites collect information about them every time they visit.
This February, McAfee released a report for mobile security showing that apps that invade a person's privacy are becoming more common than ever. More than 82% of the apps track a person's location, and many contain some kind of a malware, collecting local and personal information about the users.
Michelle Dennedy, McAfee's chief privacy officer, said: Although most apps are safe, some have a “covert mission” to collect and share information about users. When a user gives an app access to information stored on their phones, it's important to consider exactly what information that app should realistically need in order to operate — for example when downloading a game, think whether the app really needs access to your contacts."
So maybe you are asking yourself what these apps are doing with all the information they collect and why you should be concerned about it? The biggest threat comes from sharing the personal information with third parties, as that is the easiest way they can jeopardize your security. The highest risk for online safety comes from apps that are asking for the device's GPS or that read text messages.
But having a smartphone nowadays means allowing access for the apps to any kind of personal information. So be aware that:
51 per cent users grant apps access to their photos,
43 per cent give access to their personal information,
38 per cent share their phone's contact list,
more than 65 per cent give permission for apps to access their location.
So the next time a window on your screen pops up with your favourite brand of jeans, don't assume your smartphone is reading your mind, and when you plan on downloading a new app, ask yourself whether it is really necessary to press the “accept” button.