Several internet service providers across the United States are using an online service to secretly spy on, and redirect their subscribers’ online searches, according to a group of researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California.
The ISPs are monitoring, intercepting, and redirecting the searches that their subscribers are performing through the search boxes in their browsers, say the researchers.
“Instead of returning a legitimate address for search.yahoo.com, www.bing.com, and (sometimes) www.google.com, these ISPs returned the address of proxy servers,” Nick Weaver, one of the researchers, told TPM.
“These proxy servers impersonate the legitimate search engine by transparently forwarding requests to the legitimate search engine, but have the ability to both monitor all queries and change the results.”
From TPM IdeaLAB: http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/08/researchers-us-internet-service-providers-are-hijacking-customers-searches.php
Any time Angry Birds or Yelp is opened on a smartphone, information is being sent to marketers — and app developers aren’t required to reveal it. Apps running on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms often collect personal information to be resold to marketing companies and initiatives such as Google’s AdMob. These apps and others work in conjunction with in-phone GPS chips to give marketers detailed information on smartphone users’ locations, gender, ages and, in some cases, personal contacts and use of other apps.
Marketers reselling personal information from smartphone apps are working with a massive market of often-unaware users. For instance, as of December 2010, an average of 300,000 Android phones were activated daily.
Although exact figures are not available, advertising and marketing resales have become one of the largest app revenue streams for developers, with a steady stream of financial incentives existing to encourage the sale of information.
From the Wall Street Journal Online: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576020083703574602.html