5 ways your smartphone’s ‘smarts’ have become more important than the ‘phone’

It’s been headline news this week that smartphones outsold feature phones for the first time. Huzzah!

My first thought was, “They still sell non-smartphones?” My second thought was “Why do we even still call it a ‘phone’?” I mean, a PC is basically an evolution of a calculator, but we don’t get excited about whether or not PCs outsell calculators, and we don’t call PCs “supercalculators.”

If you think about it, making and receiving voice calls is one of the more minor functions of a smartphone. Sure, the devices we use today evolved from a basic mobile phone, and they’ve gotten “smarter” with new features and capabilities and a seemingly endless array of apps. But the term “smartphone” is a bit of a misnomer that doesn’t accurately describe what the device is.

It’s a personal communication and entertainment device (PCED). It’s a mobile pocket computer (MPC). It’s a personal digital assistant (PDA)—much more so than the devices that originally claimed that title. It’s an invaluable tool that enables business professionals to stay connected and be productive from virtually anywhere and at any time.

The “phone” part of “smartphone” doesn’t even scratch the surface of what the device is capable of. Here are five things a typical smartphone is used for more frequently than making or receiving voice calls:

1. Email

One of the greatest things about a smartphone is that it’s capable of accessing and downloading email over either a Wi-Fi network or a cellular data connection. That means that your email is available in your pocket 24/7.

2. Texting/Instant Messaging

Texting or instant messaging is a nice middle-ground between email and voice calls. It’s an immediate form of communication, and it’s often way more convenient and courteous than a voice call.

3. Web Surfing

This point started out being called “research.” Whether you need to keep up with breaking news in your industry, or you want to see how your investments or doing, the smartphone lets you surf the Web in the palm of your hand. You can compare features or research better prices while out shopping, book travel arrangements, or look up whether a narwhal is mythical creature or a real thing (Hint: it’s a real animal and it should have totally been called a “sea unicorn” or a “unicorn whale”).

4. GPS

Maps, and turn-by-turn directions are one of the most valuable functions of a smartphone. Whether you’re driving in your car or hoofing it, your smartphone can help you get from Point A to Point B as efficiently as possible.

5. Camera

One of the most common uses for a smartphone is as a camera or video camera. Just look at the phenomenal success of Instagram, Flickr, and Vine. The iPhone is the most-used camera in the world. It’s not that the smartphone is a better camera than a DSLR, or even a traditional point-and-shoot—in fact most pale in comparison. It’s simply a matter of convenience because most people have their smartphone with them everywhere they go, and don’t carry a camera around unless they know they need to.

As a matter of fact, the “smartphone” has done just as much to make standalone GPS units and point-and-shoot cameras obsolete as it has for standalone mobile phones, so we could just as easily call it a “smartgps” or a “smartcamera.” Actually, when it comes to Samsung, I guess the “smartcamera” is sort of a real thing thanks to the Galaxy Camera.

So, have fun using your PCED, or getting work done while on the go from your MPC. I was trying to stay focused on functions with some intrinsic value for business users, so I didn’t even cover the fact that you can watch Netflix, read a book, or play Angry Birds as well. Oh, and don’t forget it can also make phone calls if you’re into that sort of thing.

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TACKLING THE GREATEST DIGITAL DIVIDE

What’s the most persistent digital divide in America? It isn’t by race, income or educational attainment, studies show, but by age.

Just 56 percent of Americans over 65 are online, according to a May study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, compared with 83 percent of people aged 50 to 64, 92 percent of people 30 to 49 and 98 percent of 18-to-29 year olds. The 2013 study represented the first time the percentage of America’s online elderly tipped over the 50 percent mark.

The racial divide, by comparison, only runs from 76 percent of Hispanic Americans who are online to 85 percent of blacks and 86 percent of non-Hispanic whites, Pew found.

The divide measured by income is somewhat greater, from 76 percent of households that make less than $30,000 per year to 96 percent of households that make more than $75,000. The education divide comes closest to the age divide. About 59 percent of Americans who didn’t complete high school are online, Pew found, compared with 96 percent of college graduates.

The effects of this divide can be pernicious, said Tony Sarmiento, executive director of Senior Service America, a Washington-area nonprofit that works to increase Internet use among the elderly. Disconnected seniors are more likely to feel isolated and sink into depression, Sarmiento said, especially if they’re housebound by physical ailments or have lost much of their nondigital social circle to death, disease or dementia.

A 2009 report by the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies found a 20 percent reduction in depression among seniors who are online compared with those who are not.

“We all end up paying for that in terms of older people needing more care because their health deteriorates,” Sarmiento said. “So being able to lessen that isolation online, not just with email but with Skype and things like that could have a tremendous impact.”

Retirees who need to return to the workforce because of reductions to their pensions are also finding it more difficult because job postings are increasingly only online, Sarmiento said. That’s not to mention the struggle of actually competing in the increasingly digital workforce.

This digital divide is even more exaggerated when it comes to mobile.

Only 18 percent of American seniors use smartphones, according to a Pew study released in June, compared with 55 percent of Americans aged 45 to 54, 69 percent of Americans 35 to 44 and about 80 percent of Americans 18 to 34.

A Pew study released Monday showed 43 percent of America’s online seniors use social media now. That’s more than triple the 13 percent who used those sites in 2009 but roughly half the 72 percent of total Americans who use social networking.

Nextgov spoke with Sarmiento Tuesday about why the digital divide persists among seniors, what it means and what government can and should be doing about it. The transcript is edited for length and clarity.

What lessons do you take from studies showing more older Americans are using the Internet, smartphones and Web services such as social networking?

Well, the good news is that last year you had a majority of older Americans online, but that’s a slim majority. That means there are 24 million who are not online and it doesn’t look as if there’s much effort to do anything about that. There are a number of interrelated reasons why the digital divide among those older people persists but in the end I think the current publicly funded efforts and market forces aren’t making much of a dent.

What did you think about the Pew findings released Monday showing a tripling of seniors using social media?

The thing I took away from the latest findings is that once an older person goes online what they use the Internet for is becoming more and more similar to other users. Also, as the kinds of services available on the Internet continue to change, it’s becoming clear that the digital divide isn’t a fixed idea. We used to think the wrong side of the divide meant not having dial up at home. Now the threshold that separates the right and wrong sides of the divide may not be just having broadband at home. Maybe you do need mobile access. Maybe you need to be able to do social media.

What keeps elderly people from getting online?

One of the big hurdles is there are a lot of people who say ‘I’ve lived 65 or 70 or 90 years and I never needed this before so why do I need it now?’ One early report Pew did that stuck with me is they looked at people with less income and less education and then they compared older and younger people with those characteristics. The big change they found in terms of being on the wrong side of the digital divide is that no one had to convince young people they were missing out on something. Their peers were online and they got the sense there was all sorts of stuff they were missing.

Older people too often believe ‘there’s nothing in it for me. Why should I deal with the hassle of a new bill or a new technology or another damn remote,’ let alone the trouble of learning all this stuff. When you don’t know what you’re missing you’re much tougher to reach as a potential market. What we’ve learned when we’ve reached out to older adults is you’re not going to break through this irrelevancy barrier by some kind of mass media campaign. It has to be with a personal touch where one older person helps another older person discover ‘hey, you can really do something here.’

Are there fewer older seniors online because they are less likely to have used the Internet before retirement?

Yes. And that helps to explain why companies that are trying to make money on this segment of the population, often decide it’s just not worth it. It would just cost way too much to convince older customers they should be online and given their age, you know, they might not be customers for that long. So the return on investment just gets weaker and weaker.

On the other side of the coin, what’s causing the overall increase in seniors online?

Well, the other end of the spectrum is people who are entering the group of so-called younger older people or the older baby boomers. Many of them learned this Internet stuff on the job before they retired so they don’t need to get over the digital divide. But there’s also a class difference. If baby boomers aren’t online, it’s because they weren’t in an occupation where being online was important.

Clearly there’s also been a positive effect from older people, particularly those with more income and education, deciding for themselves that ‘maybe there’s something in this for me, my kids are online, my grandkids are online and so if I want to stay in touch with them I’d better get with the program.’

Finally, there’s also the iPad. For a lot of older people, this is a much more user friendly interface where they can much more quickly get to what really interests them and what’s really useful about being online as opposed to the long slog of learning how to use the mouse and the operating system and all that.

Can the government save money in the long run by getting more seniors online?

I think in theory you can, but it’s like the line from Moonstruck where the plumber says you’ve got to spend money to save money.

So what should the government be doing?

That’s a big policy question. Maybe we should try to expand the Lifeline Program, [a Federal Communications Commission initiative to provide low-cost Internet and mobile phone service to poor Americans].

There’s also Connect to Compete, [a partnership between non-profits and telecoms that offers low-cost broadband to poor Americans]. Those providers mostly use the free or reduced school lunch program to verify eligibility, so that’s clearly having no effect on older households, except for older people raising their grandchildren. We’ve proposed that maybe you could use SNAP [the Agriculture Department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps] as another way to determine eligibility so households headed by older people with no school-aged kids would be included.

That might address affordability, but if you’re really going to make a dent in the 24 million older adults who aren’t online that’s necessary but not sufficient. You’ve got to deal with the need for instruction designed for older learners. What we’ve found in our experience is if we can mobilize older people to serve as coaches for their peers, that can address the irrelevance problem and a little bit of the skills training.

That’s one reason public libraries are very important, but in too many places funding for public libraries is getting dire. So you come to the conclusion that neither market forces nor the public has the resources to break through that barrier.

Maybe you look at this and say it’s just too overwhelming but I say let’s try.

Samsung warns of smartphone slowdown

Samsung has reported record quarterly profits up 76 per cent on the back of Galaxy smartphone sales, but warned there were signs that future growth could be held back by intensifying competition.

The note of caution follows soon after Apple’s iPhone sales disappointed investors.

“The furious growth spurt seen in the global smartphone market last year is expected to be pacified by intensifying price competition, compounded by a slew of new products,” Samsung said in its earnings statement.

It said that the strongest growth in the future would come in the market for low cost handsets in developing countries.

“In the first quarter, demand for smartphones in developed countries is expected to decelerate, while their emerging counterparts will see their markets escalate with the introduction of more affordable smartphones and a bigger appetite for tablet PCs throughout the year,” Samsung told investors.

While Apple’s iPhone 5 failed to meet expectations, sales of Samsung’s broad Galaxy range continued to power the Korean giant’s rise to the top tier of global technology firms.

It did not provide unit sales figures, but analysts estimated Samsung sold 63 million smartphones in the quarter, including 15 million Galaxy S IIIs and 7 million Galaxy Note IIs, compared to Apple’s 47.8 million iPhones. Apple’s sales were a new record but fell short of Wall Street targets.

Samsung’s net income rose to £4.2bn from £2.3bn in the same three month period a year earlier, beating expectations. Profits in its mobile phone division, the biggest in the world, more than doubled on the year to £3.2bn.

“Overall its earnings momentum remains intact, and smartphone shipments will continue to grow even in the traditionally weak first quarter, as Samsung’s got a broader product line-up and Apple appears to be struggling in pushing iPhone volumes aggressively,” said Lee Se-chul, a Seoul-based analyst at Meritz Securities.

Apple shares have dropped by more than a third since mid-September as investors fret that its days of hyper growth are over and its devices are no longer as ‘must-have’ as they were.

By contrast, shares in Samsung have risen 12 percent in the same period as the company once seen as quick to copy the ideas of others now sets the pace in innovation.

Some industry observers expect Samsung to introduce its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy SIV, at a special event the firm will hold in Monaco early next month.

Dominic Sunnebo of industry analysts Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said competition is intensifying.

“Samsung is the number one handset manufacturer in Britain, driven by its wide ranging portfolio from the wallet friendly Galaxy Ace through to the boundary pushing Galaxy Note II,” he said.

“As most developed markets near or surpass 50 per cent smartphone penetration – it’s 61 per cent in Britain – easy wins are certainly becoming harder to find.

“In Great Britain there is a significant shift to the contract market which exacerbates this further as consumers find themselves tied into 24 month contracts. This is an area that carriers and retailers alike are trying to address, with deals providing a discount to consumers wanting to upgrade early, but it remains a difficult line to tread between maintaining driving consumer satisfaction and maintaining margins.”

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Apple working on a less-expensive iPhone, sources say

Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in corporate strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped.

While Apple has explored such a device for years, the plan is progressing and a less expensive version of its flagship device could launch later this year, one of the people said. The cheaper phone could resemble the standard iPhone, with a different, less-expensive body, one of the people said.

One possibility under consideration is lowering the cost of the device by using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic; in contrast, the iPhone 5 currently has an aluminum housing.

Many other parts could remain the same or be recycled from older iPhone models.

Apple could still decide to scrap the plan. A spokeswoman for the Cupertino, Calif., company declined to comment.

Apple now faces greater pressure to make the iPhone more affordable. An onslaught of lower cost rivals powered by Google’s Android operating system are gaining market share. In the 2012 third quarter, Apple held only 14.6 percent of worldwide smartphone shipments, down from a peak of 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, according to IDC.

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Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans’ private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress.

CNET has learned a constellation of law enforcement groups has asked the U.S. Senate to require that wireless companies retain that information, warning that the lack of a current federal requirement “can hinder law enforcement investigations.”

They want an SMS retention requirement to be “considered” during congressional discussions over updating a 1986 privacy law for the cloud computing era — a move that could complicate debate over the measure and erode support for it among civil libertarians.

As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery, cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions. In one 2009 case in Michigan, wireless provider SkyTel turned over the contents of 626,638 SMS messages, a figure described by a federal judge as “staggering.”

Chuck DeWitt, a spokesman for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, which represents the 63 largest U.S. police forces including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, said “all such records should be retained for two years.” Some providers, like Verizon, retain the contents of SMS messages for a brief period of time, while others like T-Mobile do not store them at all.

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Cell Phone Surveillance: Tracking Your Every Move

Cell phones long ago ceased to be a luxury and became something we can’t leave home without. But even when your device is idle or turned off, it’s sending information about your location to a cell phone tower every seven seconds. One thing most of us don’t consider is access to that information isn’t limited to your cell phone carrier.

“Police and the government can use that ping to track your whereabouts. There is no expectation of privacy in carrying that cell phone,” said Savannah attorney Bates Lovett of Hunter Maclean. Lovett said carriers can give out this information without your knowledge or permission, and in some cases without a court order.

“They can pull your text messages. They can pull your search history. Those are the types of data and information that they’re being able to pull off now that they don’t always need a warrant for,” said Lovett.

Cell phone companies are now answering more demands for your data than ever before. Nine U.S. carriers responded to questions from U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D – Massachusetts) earlier this year. According to Markey, the group reported receiving more than 1.3 million requests for information from law enforcement in 2011.

There is no denying that cell phone data is useful and often essential for investigators working to solve crimes. Privacy advocates question whether law enforcement is being allowed too much leeway with what should be protected information.

“They’re going after one person but get information on anyone who was around a cell phone tower at a certain time. Even though they’re investigating one person, they have information on hundreds or thousands of people,” said Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Experts say the problem is the law hasn’t kept up with technology.

“That’s certainly an issue that legislatures are taking into consideration now is what level of requirement must the government go through to get that type of information,” said Lovett.

A bill called the GPS Act that would require warrants for the data has stalled in the U.S. Senate. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston said he believes it is time for Congress to act.

“There should be a very high firewall in terms of personal information and what can be done with that information, who gathers that information, who sells, who buys that information,” Kingston told News 3.

Until regulations are in place, remember that what you do with your cell phone is more public than you think.

“Your expectation of privacy and what you and I would think of as private is just not the same thing as what the government thinks of as privacy,” cautioned Lovett.

Many of the cell phone carriers that responded to Markey’s inquiry said they don’t keep track of the law enforcement requests they reject, so the number of requests for data is actually more than estimated.

A study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that some cell phone carriers have manuals for police that explain what data the companies store, how investigators can obtain the data, and how much it would cost.

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Busted: Apple caught tracking iPhone users… again

Another day another issue with an Apple product. Sigh. Except maybe you should hold off on that sigh, because this one’s serious. Apple has, once again, been caught tracking iPhone users.

In April 2011, analysts at a UK security conference discovered that iPhones and iPads running iOS4 had been secretly tracking their users’ every movement. Apple then denied that it was tracking users, although it did so without directly addressing the evidence brought forward by the security company.

Now it has emerged that Apple has started tracking iOS6 users so it can target them through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDfA.

The technology has, in fact, been around since June. Mobile app engagement specialist Apsalar calls it “great news for the mobile app advertising industry” and a “better alternative to the UDID”. A UDID, is the unique, indestructible serial number that every iOS number comes with. It’s also what developers were using to track people — and what Apple stopped them using in the wake of the last tracking scandal.

IFA is definitely in iOS6 — in fact that Apsalar blog post we linked to earlier mentions the fact that it’s sanctioned by Apple as one of the pros of IFA — but, as Business Insider notes, it’s definitely not listed among the features on the iOS6 page.

IFA stands for Identifier for Advertising and is sort of like a persistent cookie which works across apps and publishers. According to Business

Insider, it triggers as soon as you enter a site on your browser or use an app. The IFA is passed on to an ad server. The advertiser now knows what site you’re looking at and can send you a targeted ad.

It also allows advertisers to track you all the way to “conversion”, in the form of an app download for instance. That’s big news for advertisers and gives them a much more serious measure of their success than they could otherwise hope for. What it won’t do however is track you as an individual person. Your device is just part of a series of aggregate data points.

While tracking is turned on by default, it is at least possible to turn it off in iOS 6, although not necessarily easy.

To turn off tracking, go to the settings menu. Look under “General”, then go to “About” and then “Advertising”. Look for “Limit Ad Tracking” and turn switch it to On. It might seem a little counter intuitive but it makes sense when you think about it. You have to turn the limiter on to turn the ads off. Simple.

Given the large number of steps and the fact that Apple hasn’t exactly been shouting from the rooftops about the new technology, it’s likely that most iOS 6 users will end up being tracked.

“It’s a really pretty elegant, simple solution,” Mobile Theory CEO Scott Swanson told Business Insider. “The biggest thing we’re excited about is that it’s on by default, so we expect most people will leave it on.”

At this point, the Fandroids are probably leaning back with smug smiles on their faces. Woah there cowboy (or girl). You Android device also tracks you according GPS location, Wi-Fi hotspots the phone has encountered, and the device ID.

That said, it’s always given you the option to opt out.

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Scary New Malware Uses Your Smartphone To Map Your House for Robbers

If you aren’t careful, much of the tech you hold near and dear can be used against you. An app called PlaceRaider, for instance, can use your phone to build a full 3D map of your house, all without you suspecting a thing.

Developed by Robert Templeman at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indiana and a few buddies from Indiana University, PlaceRader hijacks your phone’s camera and takes a series of secret photographs, recording the time, and the phone’s orientation and location with each shot. Using that information, it can reliably build a 3D model of your home or office, and let cyber-intruders comb it for personal information like passwords on sticky notes, bank statements laying out on the coffee table, or anything else you might have lying around that could wind up the target of a raid on a later date.

You might be asking yourself “why not just take video?” There are a couple of reasons. For one, users looking for things to steal found the 3D environments to be very useful in early tests of the app. More importantly, using photos and stitching them together after transmission minimizes the amount of data the phone has to be able to send, making the whole thing especially surreptitious.

That malware app was developed on Android for practical purposes—presumably because the Android is a particularly open and tinker-friendly OS—but there’s no reason it couldn’t show up on other mobile operating systems. From there, it’s a just a matter of tricking the mark into installing an app which quietly asks for permission to control your camera, all the time. Now might be a good time to start thinking about smartphone lens caps.

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Social apps ‘harvest smartphone contacts’

Twitter has admitted copying entire address books from smartphones and storing the data on its servers, often without customers’ knowledge.

Access to the address book is enabled when users click on the “Find Friends” feature on smartphone apps.

Two US congressmen have written to Apple asking why the firm allows the practice on its iPhone, as it contravenes app developer guidelines.

Twitter has said it will update its privacy policy to be more explicit.

The practice came to light when an app developer in Singapore, Arun Thampi, noticed that his contacts had been copied from his iPhone address book without his consent by a social network called Path.

Dave Morin, CEO of Path, apologised and said Path would ask users to opt in to share their contact information.

However, he noted separately that it was an “industry best practice” to upload or import address book information.

iPhone apps by social sites including Facebook, FourSquare, Instagram, Foodspotting and Yelp are also reported to access the address book.

However, Facebook has told the BBC that its app will only upload address information if the user opts to sync their contacts with the website.
Permission not granted

Critics have noted that these apps are all available for download from Apple’s iTunes store, even though the practice of copying address book contacts without prior consent appears to violate its user guidelines.

The Apple guidelines say: “Apps that read or write data outside its designated container area will be rejected.”

They add: “Apps cannot transmit data about a user without obtaining the user’s prior permission.”

Social networks have said that data taken from smartphones – which includes names, phone numbers and email addresses – is used only to identify friends who used the same service, and notify the user.

But sometimes the data appears to be taken without first informing the user, or indicating how long the information will be saved for.

Twitter said it would update its app in the wake of the disclosure, and clarify its privacy policy for users.

“We want to be clear and transparent in our communications with users. Along those lines, in our next app updates, which are coming soon, we are updating the language associated with Find Friends – to be more explicit,” Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner said.

Currently, Twitter tells users that it “may customize your account with information such as a cellphone number for the delivery of SMS messages or your address book so that we can help you find Twitter users you know”.

Twitter informs iPhone users that it will “scan your contacts for people you already know on Twitter”.

However, the Los Angeles Times reported that the app in fact uploads every address book contact and stores it for 18 months – something not made clear by the app.

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App sends user GPS data to ad firm

A smartphone application that gathers information on the location of its users was downloaded by more than 1.5 million people, and the data was sent to an advertising company in the United States, according to experts.

The application in question is a goldfish catching game that does not require any information about the user’s location to play.

As the GPS data makes it possible to identify a user’s location with a margin of error of several meters, it would be possible to presume the user’s home or office address if such information was accumulated, they said.

An image showing what type of information is collected appears on the screen before installation, but only a small number of users correctly understand the explanations, the experts said.

There have been no guidelines available on information gathering for smartphones despite the rapid spread of the devices. This seems to have aggravated the situation.

According to an analysis by KDDI R&D Labs in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture, at the request of The Yomiuri Shimbun, the free application released on the Internet last month was designed to send Global Positioning System information from smartphones to a U.S. advertising firm at a rate of about once per minute.

When the application is installed, an image appears on the screen with a message reading “the range of access authority and positional information.” Approval of the reading of positional information is requested but there is no mention of its purpose and whether the information will be transmitted remotely.

The software development company that produced the application released it on 238 application markets since November last year, and 1.5 million people have installed it, according to the firm.

The collected information was found to have been used to display ads highly connected with the locations of application users.

“When we created the application, we built in the programs sent from a U.S. advertising company, with which we had made a contract for ad placement, without confirming their contents,” the president of the app development company said. “We had no idea that private information was being transmitted, because the game’s content has no connection with positional information.”

The U.S. advertising firm insists that information about users’ locations is collected to provide more convenient advertisements and that no problems will arise because information is treated anonymously.

As with the case of the application development company in question, programs for delivering ad content are provided by advertising companies to application developers. Many of the programs are believed to include modules capable of reading and gathering personal information, the experts said.

KDDI R&D Labs surveyed 980 applications both at home and abroad in August. They found 27 percent of them were equipped with functions capable of reading positional information; 11 percent were found to be capable of reading the contents of a telephone directory; and 58 percent of them were found to be capable of acquiring IDs associated with terminal devices and telephone numbers.

Keisuke Takemori, a senior researcher at the KDDI labs, said: “Virus infection of smartphones has emerged as a problem, but we are also in a situation where even legitimate application software could cause information leaks. Users are not told how the collected information will be used.”

In May last year, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry compiled guidelines on personal information gathering through information technology devices, calling for clarification of purposes and identification of who will collect such information.

The ministry pointed out the software in this case could “deviate from these principles,” but has yet to put forth effective measures to deal with it partly because it involves a foreign advertising company.

The ministry formed a study group on smartphone cloud security in October. The group’s main job is to work out measures against computer viruses. It has yet to launch a full-scale study of information gathering of legitimate application software.

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