PrivacyBreacher for Android reveals data that apps have access to without extra permission requests
PrivacyBreacher is an open source Android application that has been created to showcase some privacy issues on Android devices. It has been created to demonstrate privacy issues on Android, and is based on the Privacy Issues in Android article that you can access here.
The application is compatible with Android 9 and later devices, and requires no extra permissions. In fact, it has been designed to point out data that applications can access without any extra permission requests.
You may start the application at any time after installation. It uses a basic interface with just three buttons. The first, Physical Activity Monitor, demonstrates how any application may use phone sensors to monitor the angle of the phone, the direction of the phone, the speed of movement, and more using sensors such as Gyroscope, Accelerometer, or Magnetometer.
The developer notes that this may give the app a "3D visualization of your hand & body movements".
Phone Activity Monitor on the other hand monitors certain events on the device, e.g. when a charger was plugged in, when the screen was turned off, when the phone was disconnected from a charger, or when the phone was connected to a laptop or PC using USB.
Phone Information finally displays information that any application can look up when it is installed on a device. This includes:
- List of all installed applications.
- Mobile data and Wi-Fi data used since last boot.
- Device uptime.
- Device brand, name, manufacturer, manufacturing time and date.
All Android devices gain access to a core set of permissions automatically; these permissions are not mentioned explicitly and don't need to be requested. PrivacyBreacher demonstrates that applications may access information about a user's device without requesting any extra permissions.
While many of these may sound harmless, they could be used for fingerprinting or other tracking purposes.
It would be interesting to know if some applications make use of these for tracking or advertising purposes.
In the end, it is still important to know what applications may look up on a device without any extra permission requests.
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