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Google Bans Apps With Hidden Data-Harvesting Software

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Google’s action doesn’t impair Measurement System’s ability to collect data from the millions of phones around the world where its software is already installed.

Credit: Justin Chin/Bloomberg news

Google has pulled dozens of applications from its Google Play store amid researchers' findings that they contain software that secretly harvests data.

Serge Egelman at the University of California, Berkeley and Joel Reardon of Canada's University of Calgary found links between the code's developer, Panama-based Measurement Systems, and a Virginia defense contractor that conducts cyberintelligence and other work for U.S. national security agencies.

They found the code ran on millions of Android devices and could be found within a number of consumer apps.

The researchers said Measurement Systems had paid developers to embed its data-harvesting software development kit into their apps, which "continues to underscore the importance of not accepting candy from strangers," according to Egelman.

From The Wall Street Journal
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