The Privacy Commissioner in the country has now joined 22 Canadian and global counterparts in an open letter.
The Canadian Privacy Commissioner has recently joined with 22 other watchdog groups and regulators within Canada and other parts of the world in an open letter that has been issued to tech giants such as Apple and Google, calling for massive improvements to the mobile security control that users have over the use of their private information by apps.
The letter has been issued to seven of the largest app marketplace operators to significantly boost their privacy measures.
The recipients of this mobile security themed letter include Google, Apple, Samsung Electronics, BlackBerry, Amazon, Microsoft, and Nokia. App usage has now grown to such a degree that they are ubiquitous. As these applications are used for a tremendous range of activities, including everything from games to mobile banking, this means that a very large amount of private data is being stored on the average smartphone. However, the Canadian watchdog and other groups do not feel that this information is being adequately protected.
This presents a considerable mobile security issue, as consumers lack control over the use of their own sensitive data.
According to comScore, by the end of last year, 75 percent of Canadian mobile subscribers were using smartphones. The majority of those devices are used for many purposes beyond making and receiving calls and texts. They help users to be able to play games, check their email, find directions using GPS mapping, and check and post on social media accounts.
The open mobile privacy letter from global authorities was written based on a study that had been conducted earlier this year. Within that research – called the “Privacy Sweep”, by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) –over 1,200 of the most popular mobile apps in the world were tracked. The results were worrying to the GPEN, particularly in terms of the collection of personal information from the users.
The Privacy Sweep mobile security research determined that only 15 percent of the most popular apps worldwide, and only 28 percent of those in Canada provided a clear explanation of the way in which the application was collecting and using a smartphone owner’s personal information. Twenty six percent of those in Canada and over half of those worldwide provided no privacy information whatsoever (aside from requesting certain permissions), or the offered information that was inadequate to explain the true usage of the data.