Smartphones are definitely great: the internet connectivity, the storage space, the entertainment, all your personal data right there in your pocket. However, there’s a catch: these wonderful apps that do pretty much anything we want apparently also do some things we wouldn’t necessarily like them to. It seems that quite a few of the iPhone and Android apps phone home – without asking for a permission – and all of a sudden that personal data is not only in your pocket any more.
There is an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal TECH that explains the results of an examination of 101 popular smartphone apps. It turned out that most of these apps collected information of the device or the user and sent it to advertisers or other third parties.
The bottom line, I think, is this: smartphones are powerful personal computers that can run an ever increasing variety of applications (sure, you can make phone calls, too). Accordingly, spyware or harmful code in general can be just as serious in a smartphone as in any other computer we use – most probably even more so, due to the very personal nature of these devices. Every ‘standard’ computer with internet connectivity has a user configurable firewall these days; I sure would like one in my smartphone as well.