Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny/Cloudy    13 / 1 ℃  City Forecast

English>>Life & Culture

Be wary of 'peepers' in mobile phones

(People's Daily Online)

08:53, December 18, 2012

(Xinhua Photo)

People may not know that a graphics editing application (app) requires access to their call history, and a historical fiction app requires access to their location. Smart phones are becoming increasingly popular, but when people enjoy the fun of various apps, their location, contacts, text messages, and phone use habits may be leaked.

A study found that privacy leakage from mobile phone has continued to worsen, and personal data leakage has become one of the main threats facing mobile phone users. Compared with malicious data-stealing apps that can be identified and removed by anti-virus software, more and more official apps request excessive permissions, which is a headache for many users.

When people install a mobile phone app, they often notice that it asks for access to their contacts, GPS information, and other personal data. They will not be able to install the app if they do not give it these permissions. “You cannot stop installing apps just because of its asking for your permissions,” a mobile phone user said, adding that accurately targeted advertising may have something do with the leakage of mobile phone users’ personal data.

“Users’ data are also useful resources for app developers,” a mobile app developer said. Some apps request access to personal data in order to help developers improve products and provide better services.

Other apps steal users’ personal data for commercial use, and leak these data without users’ consent. “App developers can make profits from selling users’ personal data to certain organizations or companies. This is a common phenomenon in the industry, and the prices of these data are often marked clearly,” an industry insider disclosed.

Making profits from stealing and selling users’ personal data violates user privacy. It is subject to civil liability, and may even constitute a crime, according to Chinese law.

More worryingly, many people use the same password for multiple online accounts. If the password is leaked, they may suffer great loss.

Shi Guangshun, a professor at the College of Information Technical Science under Nankai University, said that mobile phone users’ payment habits should be gradually developed, so they could transform from pure hardware consumers into software consumers. China’s paid app market is still in its infancy, and domestic developers face a dilemma of developing paid apps that are seldom downloaded or developing free apps that cost them much time and energy. Certain free apps thus resort to information theft and sales.

Why cannot people avoid apps with obviously unreasonable permissions since there are so many potential risks? At present, there are many loopholes in certain informal third-party app stores’ management and examination of unofficial apps.

Mobile phone users should increase their awareness of privacy, and try to download apps from official websites in order to protect their personal information.

Experts suggested that app stores should enhance regulation and examination of submitted apps, related laws should be improved, and the public’s awareness of their rights should be increased.

Shi said that there are almost no laws applicable to mobile phone security, and most virtual world laws are about personal computer security. In fact, mobile phones have become a bridge between the real and digital worlds, and have a great impact on people’s daily lives. Therefore, mobile phone security should be greatly enhanced, and the industry access standards should be further improved. For example, all finance-related mobile apps should obtain the approval of a specified organization.

(Source: People's Daily)

We recommend:

Cute! Top 10 child stars in China

Face to face with Miss World 2012

Chinese ancient beauties behind veils

Flower-like Chinese actresses

25 actresses in soldier costume

Top 10 Chinese basketball babes

Classic and glamorous! Actresses' screen images

Five things not to do when getting up at night

Seductive! Sexy perfume ads


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Special operation members in training

  2. New-type supply ship "Fuxian Lake"

  3. Mourn for school shooting victims in U.S.

  4. China's weekly story (2012.12.10-12.15)

  5. Photos: Most touching loves in 2012

  6. Christmas Wedding Expo closes in HK

  7. Dolphin-assisted therapy helps children

  8. Ultrabooks Make Sense for Business

Most Popular


  1. Abe 'must change' to build ties
  2. Gloomy markets defy expected growth
  3. Don't let Chinese characters be a world heritage
  4. Behind annual Chinese Writers Rich List
  5. China firms 'don't communicate enough'
  6. Who can free Chinese couples from baby tangle?
  7. No easy path in sight for China's economic future
  8. Worries about combating corruption online
  9. 'Urban diseases' challenge 'beautiful China'
  10. Cultivating a natural lifestyle at Green City

What’s happening in China

Global dreams for Confucius

  1. 201 call Shanghai suicide hotline in 1st week
  2. Hospital killings deter prospective doctors in China
  3. Beware of doomsday scams, police say
  4. More luxury hotels take shark fin off their menu
  5. Official cars garaged if Beijing air worsens