Smartphones are very convenient and useful devices, which consequently led to their wide adoption worldwide. Today there are 1.08 smartphone users out of the 5 billion mobile phone users and the ratio is constantly increasing. Smartphones are used not only to communicate but also to browse the web and run various internet-enabled Apps. As a result, they contain a lot of information about the cyber activities of their owners, and therefore users’ interests and behaviors. Furthermore, smartphones are also equipped with GPS, NFC and Bluetooth units along with a digital camera that reveal a lot of information about the physical activities of their owners. On top of this, smartphones are very personal to the user and almost always connected to the Internet; in fact, they are barely turned off.
For all aforementioned reasons, combined with the fact that users always carry smartphones wherever they go, they are the ideal target for marketers who want to profile users to monetize their personal data. Some studies even suggest that – for example, in the case of free applications – the main business model for the developers might be based on collection of personal data. As a result, many Apps might be leaking personal information to third parties, such as analytics and advertising (A&A) companies.
The goals of the Mobilitics project are to investigate smartphone Operating Systems (OSs) and Apps for potential privacy leaks and to inform their users about the privacy risks. The project currently targets two OSs, namely Android and iOS, because they cover almost 75% of the whole smartphone OS marketshare.
- Franck Baudot (Engineer)
- Geoffrey Delcroix (Engineer)
- Gwendal Le Grand (Cnil IT Team Head)
- Stéphane Petitcolas (Engineer)
- Inria Privatics team