MIT’s Technology Review has a nifty roundup of programs designed to help Android users keep their personal data away from the greedy hands of mobile apps that want access to their full contact lists, location data, browser history and more. The most intriguing entry comes from a Bulgarian software developer named Plamen Kosseff, who has actually rewritten the Android operating system so that it gives apps bogus data when users grant them permission to start scrounging around their phone. For example, when users give an app access to their bookmarks, it simply returns the default bookmarks list that came preloaded on their Android phones, or sends out a blank address book to apps that want to see contact lists. Other programs spotlighted in the article include a program from NQ Mobile that creates an encrypted “vault” within users’ devices for personal data that apps can’t access, as well as a still-in-development app from Xuxian Jiang and his team at North Carolina State University that lets users control a lot more of what does and doesn’t get shared with mobile apps.
- Technology & Electronics