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    Campus Technology: Carnegie Mellon Gives Privacy Grade to Android Apps

    Campus Technology reports that researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have launched PrivacyGrade, a Web site that reviews mobile apps and how they gather data and affect user privacy:

    Google Maps gets an A. The free version of Angry Birds gets a C. And My ABCs by BabyBus gets a D. The letters assigned to each of these Android apps are grades, and while A is great, D means failure — in privacy, that is.

    Those grades and a million others were assigned through a scanning application that combines automated techniques with crowdsourcing to capture the behavior of an app and measure the gap that exists between how people expect the app to behave and how it actually behaves. […]

    That’s why a research team at Carnegie Mellon University has launched PrivacyGrade, a Web site that shares privacy summaries that highlight the most unexpected behaviors of an app. The goal is to help smartphone users manage their privacy better and with more thought. […]

    PrivacyGrade also examines which third-party code libraries make use of the resources culled by the app. If the app accesses location data, the program checks to see if it’s used by a library such as Google Maps, suggesting it is simply being used for mapping, or if it is being used by an advertising library, an indication that it will be used for targeted ads.

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