Android Watchdog - A Privacy Preserving Android Application
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This study explores issues related to privacy, both in general, and especially on Android smartphones. Previous research indicates that people often are irrational when it comes to privacy. They state that they are in control of their digitally stored personal information, but their actions show the opposite. On Android devices, permissions are intended to provide users with information about the critical functionality an application can implement by requesting it on install-time. This vision have proven be ineffective: users do not understand what it entails to accept them. Motivated by these issues, we developed a model for ranking of third-party Android applications by threat to user privacy based on our expertise, required permissions, and the users' preferences on permissions. Also, we propose new descriptions for Android permissions that educate the user about its abilities. These new descriptions and our ranking model are implemented in an Android application with the purpose of increasing Android users ability to maintain their privacy. We evaluated the application with a group of 20 students, most with a non-technical background, using it over a short period. Our evaluations show that the analysis of permissions and implementation of our privacy risk score model in an Android application can change users' attitude towards privacy in a positive direction. We also find the user acceptance of such an application to be high.