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Angry Birds data mining your phone's private informationAngry Birds has been one of the most popular apps across both Apple (iPhone, iPod and iPad) and Google (Android) devices. CNBC reported that Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 50 million times and players around the world result in 200 million minutes of game play every day.

Less reported is the fact that this popular game — and many others — come with huge privacy loopholes, little transparency and the silent collection of your personal information, which is then sold to marketers.

From Neal Ungerleider at Talking Points Memo:

Data mining from smartphone apps is endemic: A recent investigative piece in the Wall Street Journal discovered sensitive personal information was being sent to marketers by popular applications such as Angry Birds, Pandora and Yelp. This information often includes users’ contacts, geographical location and a mobile phone ID unique to each user.

Privacy concerns are not limited to app developers. Just days ago, Facebook quietly announced a temporary privacy change after user backlash from Facebook’s decision giving marketers access to users’ home address and cell phone numbers.

As more and more information is shared online, there should be restraint and accountability exercised by both users and providers. Users should use common sense when sharing personal information while providers should be respectful of privacy. If companies intend to share private information, they should do so only through transparent means and ensure that users understand that private information may be shared.

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

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