You would expect an app like Google Maps to pinpoint your location, but why do the Angry Birds need to know where you are? Many popular Android apps also track your location, check your device ID and even access the contacts on your phone. Popular music app Pandora Internet Radio, Dictionary.com and Angry Birds are among the apps gathering this information.
This information is then shared with marketers and other groups that are willing to pay for information. For example, a study found that Angry Birds shares your sensitive information with six mobile ad companies and three research companies.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University put together a list of some of the worst offenders and what type of information they access.
Brightest Flashlight (device ID, location)
Toss It (device, ID, location)
Angry Birds (device, ID, location)
Talking Tom (device, ID)
Backgrounds HD Wallpapers (device, ID, contacts)
Dictionary.com (device ID, location)
Mouse Trap (device ID)
Horoscope (device ID, location)
Shazam (device, ID, location
Pandora Internet Radio (device ID, location)
In a sense, your personal information is how you pay for “free” apps. This snooping really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Google Play requires developers to spell out what kind of information they collect in the terms of service. The problem is that most people just don’t bother to read the fine print. So, if you’d prefer to keep private information completely private, read the terms carefully before you tap the accept button.