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back to article Don't download that app: US presidential candidates will STALK you with it

Security researchers have uncovered privacy shortcomings in the mobile applications offered by both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns. The campaign teams of the incumbent US President and his Republican challenger have each released apps for both iOS and Android, in good time for the election on November 6 …

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Boffin

First mobile botnet?

with added plausible deniablity

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Re: First mobile botnet?

I think the conspiracy theories will just write themselves ...

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Anonymous Coward

They want you

They want you

They want you

As their new recruit.

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Big Brother

"Even reputable sources like the official presidential campaigns"

I'm not quite sure, does that really count as a 'reputable source'? I mean, /really/?

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Big Brother

Re: "Even reputable sources like the official presidential campaigns"

And if the conclusion ("Ultimately, it comes down to this: If you value your privacy, be careful what you download to your mobile device") is combined with that "even reputable sources...", doesn't "be careful" become "just simply be paranoïd and Bob's your uncle" ?

Or ultimately, it comes down to this: If you value your privacy, turn that thing off.

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Re: "Even reputable sources like the official presidential campaigns"

Turn it off? I want to throw my device away after reading the "fine print".

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The best one yet

"The lesson here for users is that it’s their responsibility to know what the apps on their mobile devices are doing"

Haha

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Meh

Protect users from themselves

My other half has my 3GS now, and installed something she liked the look of. Then she asks me about it, and I suspect it's doing in-app purchases. Turned that off, and lo and be feckin hold it's trying to rinse my iTunes account for 'extras'. Said app was promptly deleted. I never got round to checking if it made clear on the app store whether it would make use of the facility.

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Re: Protect users from themselves

What's the name of the app?

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Trollface

Politicians invading the privacy of the voters? Shock Horror...

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Anonymous Coward

No surprise...

as both candidates have managed to earn themselves grades of "D" in civil liberties and "C" in consumer privacy from EPIC.

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Mushroom

Re: No surprise...

And they're both tossers.

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

"privacy shortcomings"

- understatement of the year award 2012.

"suprisingly invasive"

- wrong. Totally unsurprising.

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Alert

What happens to the data?

There are still fanatics from both parties that will happily allow such apps to slurp their data, cheerfully ignoring the fact that all the contact data means they are passing on details of others who probably would not want their details used by political parties. Does anyone know if either party has supplied details on any data retention or post-election data deletion?

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: What happens to the data?

You're kidding, right?

we're talking campaign teams here...

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Silver badge

RIM must really be on the way out if they're not worth scamming like this. Or that you can have it prompt you when an app is trying to do this and block it is why it isn't in appworld.

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Holmes

Ah ha!

That would explain the odd political call I got this weekend on my few days old mobile number that I've only given to about a dozen people, mostly family and friends. They knew who I was, where I lived and asked if I was going to register to vote and who I was favoring in the presidential election. Of course being my normal pol loathing self I replied, "the other pinhead who didn't have his lackeys call me" and promptly hung up. Pity I don't have more tact, I could have pumped them for information but I was a tad startled. It was a bit eerie they knew so much considering how little time I've been at my current address.

Now then, given that I have an aunt who is a SuperDemocrat and an uncle who is UltraRepublican and I wouldn't put it past either to install one of these apps that gave me up to the machine. I guess I'll be making a few calls to see who installed what, hopefully they both did and I can double the fun.

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Big Brother

Which highlights the most important issue here

that being, your privacy is only as good as the least privacy-concerned person you are in contact with.

I loathe Facebook with a vengeance, and only joined at the insistence of my family and out of a need to observe and control what information was placed there about me; I went to great lengths to minimise the information about myself that was put on there. However, thanks to my Facebook-loving mother, bless her heart, they know almost as much about my private life, interests, hobbies, job and contact network as she does.

This is invasiveness of a scale even Orwell could never have imagined. A 1984 analogy would perhaps be people voluntarily demanding portable telescreens so Big Brother could watch them even on community hikes, and personal microphones that broadcast even a whisper from you to all in the vicinity.

If you know anyone who is on Facebook, or uses the sorts of apps mentioned in the article, you may as well have gone to the police yourself and voluntarily told them your whole life story. But hey, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, right?

When even my own family - the people I love most in the world and would gladly die for - are effectively made into informants, without even realising it, by the fundamental invasiveness of social networking, the future is a horror to make the worst imaginings of Orwell, Huxley and Bradbury seem like libertarian paradises in comparison.

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Re: Which highlights the most important issue here

Dear Mr.Roper,

Thank you for your comment.

I wanted to reply to your story with facebook, but in a process of registration I lost needed screen, please see my comment posted at 18:08 CMT.

In general, facebook phenomenon could be explained by people’s love for confession, need for kind attention to their problems, as well as their thirst for recognition of their significance, at least, acknowledgment of the fact that they exist. Now when plenty of priests lost credibility and friends and the loved ones betray without hesitation, what else left but entire internet to tell their stories!? Personally, I think this is sad side of contemporary progress in communication, when the screen takes place of the friend.

Best luck to you.

Alice–Sofia

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So based on the article, a 'rabid' rebublican could download the obama app, discover the Obama supporters in his/hers neighborhood and ... start from there :-) conspiracy theory #1.

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Bronze badge

"[the applications] request permissions, access to services and data and capabilities beyond their core mandate."

Not unlike successful candidates, then.

I suspect that the social networking/mobile app thing is more effective in amusing developers and would be political movers and shakers than in actually affecting the election.

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Alien

Resistance is futile

I'm surprised that the Romney app doesn't automatically baptise the user into the Mormon faith.

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Big Brother

Re: Resistance is futile

Uh, how do you know that it doesn't do that?

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WTF?

Why would you want this app anyway?

Obviously I understand why the political teams would want you to install their app, but why would YOU want to install their app in the first place? I don't recall myself or the UK population in general rushing to install any political apps in the run up to the last General Election.

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Silver badge

Re: Why would you want this app anyway?

Um, we're talking about US citizens here.

Anything goes.

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Facepalm

Why? Why? Why?

Would anyone download such useless apps to their device? Aren't IOS/Android market already full of useless/worthless apps?

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I think that Facebook is the greatest “sucker” of personal info. I never joined, because I read enough of their methods and watched how they treat people: there is enough espionage dirt already. Sometimes when I want to make comment and I do not know through which site the sign–up is done, the facebook screen appears with demand to be admitted to all my personal info. I immediately turn off the page, no comments for the price of connection with facebook! In general, all this looks like the greatest ops at the level of Mossad or another leading intelligence service spying on Americans.

Alice-Sofia

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