Angry Birds and Other Must-Have Apps Collect More Personal Data Than You Think

Angry Birds thinks it can get away with anything.

The addictive iPhone app asks for permission to access a user’s location, but a Wall Street Journal investigation says it’s harvesting–and delivering–much more. Your contacts, city, latitude and longitude, phone ID and username and password are all collected and sent to third parties.

The WSJ says it’s pretty standard for iPhone and Android apps to send more data than you realize to analytics companies.

Pandora asks only for access to your address book, but it sends age, gender, location and phone ID to third parties. Netflix doesn’t ask for a location permission but it does harvest your zip code. The Facebook iPhone app doesn’t send data to any third parties, but it accesses all your contacts without asking for permission to see your address book.

One app, Pumpkin Maker, transmits location to an ad network without asking permission, using the phone’s IP address.

The story and massive infographic show that apps may be getting more info than the explicit permissions suggest. But hey, at least Pumpkin Maker’s location estimate was three miles off.

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