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A new global study revealed that 85 percent of mobile apps on both iOS and Android operating systems fail to notify users how they collect and disclose their personal information.

The study, performed by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), examined more than 1,200 paid and free apps, including highly-downloaded games and apps for news, health/fitness and mobile banking.

Moreover, study findings also showed that nearly one in three mobile apps requested an excessive amount of permissions to access additional personal information, such as location, putting the privacy and security of its users at risk.

“Apps are becoming central to our lives, so it is important we understand how they work and what they are doing with our information,” said Simon Rice, group manager for technology at the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). “[The] results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer.”

Other key findings from the mobile apps examines include:

  • 75 percent require at least one permission
  • 16 percent requested device ID data
  • 10 percent asked for camera permissions
  • 9 percent requested access to contacts

However, not all apps were found to have poor practice. Some apps provided basic information of how personal information was being used along with links to more detailed information, while other apps even notified users of the potential collection or use of personal data as it was about to happen.

The GPEN, along with members from the ICO, plan to notify app developers of their inadequate privacy policy disclosers. Rice added the ICO will also be providing guidance explaining the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps.

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