Free Mobile Apps Are Mining Your Data

About almost all free mobile applications are getting something from users -- their data, according to an industry expert.

Domingo Guerra, president and founder of Appthority, a mobile app risk management company, said that most apps are loading up on consumer data because users allow them.

"We granted that access," Guerra told Press:Here. "They have access to our calendar, address book, location . . . The developers are trying to monetize, harvesting all the information they can, and are trying to place it with data brokers or ad networks."

Guerra said that "free" apps want to be paid, so consumer data is one way to do that. By offering the app for free, they will have more access to more users.

Guerra said that almost all (99 percent) free apps will track data, but the paid apps are almost as bad -- 86 percent also collect unnecessary data. The idea this is happening should be scary for businesses, he said, because so many people bring in their wireless devices into work with these data-harvesting apps loaded onto them.

Some app stores, such as Google's Play are showing users the permissions the apps are using, but it doesn't specifically tell you what the mobile app developers are going to do with the data.

"It doesn't tell you why and what the company is going to do with that information," Guerra said. "(It won't say) that address book is going to be data-mined  and folks are going to get marketed to because you shared that. That next step is missing."

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