New app aims to discover how your phone uses your personal data

Apr 16, 2012

Today sees the launch of a new research project which aims to find out how people value the personal information held on their android smartphones.

Nearly every step you take, physically and on the web, can be traced, but while smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more common, few people have given much thought to how their personal information is being used by the companies and app developers they sign up for.

Many companies offer their apps for free in exchange for use of the personal information of , usually without a direct monetary benefit to the individual, arguing that if people cannot place a value on the information, then it must be free. Consumers find it difficult to track what their information is being sold on for and what profits companies make from selling on the data to third-parties.

The project is being led by Dr. Bernadette Kamleitner, from the School of Business and Management, and Dr. Hamed Haddadi, from the School of and , who want to discover the price that consumers would attach to their personal information.

Dr. Kamleitner explains: “Personal information is a huge and poorly regulated business. Although consumers can benefit from the use of their information by receiving customised offers, others also use individual’s data to make money. We hope this project will help us to understand which information people consider more or less valuable to them, and will allow us to show whether people genuinely believe that ‘personal information has no price’.”

The study will see volunteers asked to install a free app on their mobile phone which will ask them some basic questions about their background and lifestyle. Then, over the next two weeks, the app will pop up a daily questionnaire asking what you are doing, how you feel about that, where you are, who you are with, and how much the information would be worth to you, mimicking the sort of data companies extract from your phone.

Explore further: New research platform provides support to journalists

More information: As well as the chance to participate in the research, all volunteers will be entered into a prize draw to win Amazon Vouchers worth between £10 and £100.

To take part in the study, please visit:

Related Stories

Yahoo! helps find smartphone 'apps'

Jun 16, 2011

Yahoo! has begun helping people navigate the sea of applications available for Apple iPhones or mobile gadgets powered by Google-backed Android software.

What is the price of free?

Mar 06, 2012

Scientists from the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University have designed a method to improve privacy control in the Android apps market. The method reaches a balance between the need for developer’s ...

Design could help Facebook members limit security leaks

Dec 05, 2011

A sign-up interface created by Penn State researchers for Facebook apps could help members prevent personal information -- and their friends' information -- from leaking out through third-party games and apps to hackers and ...

Two cellphones in one

Oct 07, 2011

More and more companies are providing their employees with smartphones. While companies seek the best security available for their data, employees would also like to install apps of their own. Security experts have now developed ...

Senator calls for smartphone app privacy policies

May 25, 2011

(AP) -- A key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is challenging Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to require all developers that make apps for their mobile devices to adopt formal privacy policies.

Recommended for you

New research platform provides support to journalists

8 hours ago

In-depth research is the key to all good journalism – but even experienced journalists have trouble dealing with the huge quantities of information available nowadays. A novel research platform promises ...

Collaboratively exploring virtual worlds

Jun 30, 2015

Today's students are accustomed to highly stimulating and interactive content, whether in the form of video games or mobile apps. As a result, they respond to a higher level of interactivity and engagement ...

'Fallout' mobile game an App Store hit

Jun 25, 2015

A free mobile game spun from blockbuster video game franchise "Fallout" has rocketed to the top of the charts at Apple's online App Store.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.