Fears are growing over smartphone apps which extract detailed private information about users' lives, text messages and calls and then sell on to third parties.
App manufacturers can access personal data from users due to the far reaching terms and conditions that often accompany apps. According to a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times, 70 per cent or users rarely or never read the terms and conditions when downloading an app, allowing location data, the number of phone contacts and internet history to be harvested and transferred to third parties.
Among those that admitted reading text messages was Facebook, which said it was accessing the information as part of a trial to launch its own messaging service, according a report in yesterday's Sunday Times.
Some critics say that smartphone apps exist solely for the mining of private information.
More than 400,000 apps are now available for Androids and in excess of 500,000 for iPhones.
In addition to Facebook, well-known companies that obtain permission to access personal data — such as the reading of text messages — include Flickr, Badoo and Yahoo! Messenger.
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