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Apps Used as Alternatives to Prison in U.S. Have Privacy Flaws

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Six of the studied apps communicated with unique Internet domain names that could enable employers and school administrators with Wi-Fi network monitoring tools to figure out if any users of such apps are connected to the network.

Credit: Getty Images

University of Washington researchers discovered privacy flaws in smartphone monitoring apps used in the U.S. to track people waiting for immigration court dates, those in juvenile detention systems, and those on parole or probation.

Of 16 Android monitoring apps studied, the researchers found seven either did not link to a privacy policy or linked to generic privacy policies, in violation of the Google Play Store's user data policies.

One app used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, BI SmartLINK, required "dangerous permissions" (to access the device’s camera, obtain its precise location, make telephone calls without user permission, and record audio), but did not disclose that it in its privacy policy.

From New Scientist
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