March 6, 2012
We wanted to take a moment to respond to a story that ran on Channel 4 News in the U.K. over the weekend, sounding a privacy alarm on Android apps “sharing personal data with advertisers” and alluding to the possibility that Mobclix facilitates the storage of private user data.
The entire segment only suggests that it’s “possible” for all kinds of bad things to happen with user data on mobile devices, specifically when users download apps that use networks to target advertising.
The plain and simple fact is that Mobclix never attempted to access private or sensitive information and we certainly do not capture and record that data.
Here are the rest of the facts, plain and simple:
1. There is no reason to single out marketing/advertising companies with this general Android security permission discussion. Every single mobile app has access to some set of user data in order to function that the user has consented to whether the app uses advertising or not. There are tons of apps in the Android market that have more access to sensitive data than any app that is using advertising.
2. Mobclix does not capture or record such data. App developers and users must grant access to the data and provide it to Mobclix for use. There is no backdoor or secret access to sensitive information.
3. Android permissions often grant access to chunks of information rather than a single piece of data. Therefore, in some cases, apps that would like permission to access a single piece of data technically have access to other stuff because of Android’s permission system. There is nothing we can do about that.
Also, we do not require the permissions linked to any of the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) listed in the article:
- If the developer has either of these enabled, we make these available for use for Rich Media and DO NOT actively collect them.
- If the developer has either of these enabled, we relay this information in our ad request.
For further info on Android permissions, read our blog post explaining why 3rd party SDKs need certain permissions.
By the way, we have access to the same exact information as all major mobile advertisers. There is no reason to single us out amongst our competitors. Mobclix has never captured information about users’ contacts, calendars and location without expressed permission from users.
We hope that this will serve to clear up any confusion our customers and app users in general may have about the way ad networks on our exchange work with personal data.