Smartphone apps harvest and spread personal info

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Publicly available cell-phone applications from application markets are releasing consumers' private information to online advertisers, according to a joint study by Intel Labs, Penn State and Duke University.

In a study of 30 popular applications, TaintDroid, a realtime monitoring service, revealed that 15 send users' geographic location to remote advertisement servers. The study also found that seven of the 30 applications send a unique phone (hardware) identifier and, in some cases, the phone number and SIM card serial number to developers. In all, the researchers identified 68 instances of potentially misused private information by 20 applications.

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