Data stealing apps (in Android and iOS) require permissions way beyond what is needed to do their job. They are stealing your data to sell it. Channel Seven Sunrise GadgetGuy speaks to the Sunrise team.

Samantha Armitage: Did you read the terms and conditions before you downloaded each app?

David Kosh: No, I just pressed accept.

Samantha: Candy Crush – a simple game – has 28-pages of Terms and Conditions. It even gains access to the contacts in your phone. And if you use it through Facebook, it gets information about you, your interests and general location. Some apps are more like spy tools – they can turn on the audio and listen to your conversations, it’s able to read texts and even connect to your camera.

All without your knowledge.

data stealing apps

Val Quin: It is crazy. The terms and conditions are so difficult to read, and we just want to use the app, so we click ‘I agree’. You have just given that app permission to do whatever the T&Cs says it can do with your data.

Samantha: What can people do to protect personal information?

Val uses an Apple iPad to demonstrate accessing its Privacy settings. It is similar on Android, just go into Settings and Apps.

He showed the types of information apps collect. Location, contacts, calendars, reminders, photos, microphone, camera, HomeKit and much more.

data stealing appsFor example, under location (enabled by GPS, Wi-Fi or store beacons etc.) you must ask why things like Facebook (social media) Evernote (word processor) needs to know where you are. Of course, Maps, Weather, Camera, your bank etc., do need to know. But Uber defaults to use your location all the time instead of when you use the app – so switch it to the latter.

Val: The best advice is to go through all of these apps and set relevant permissions. If they stop working (and most won’t), then get rid of them.

Koshie: Are there any data stealing apps we should be wary off?

Val: Any free app because its product is you (it monetises your personal data). Be wary of apps that want access to contacts, microphone, camera gallery, etc. Ask why they would need that.

Samantha: Are we going to see more legislation to protect us?