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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : February 27, 2012

Free app detects what personal info mobile ad networks are collecting

A new app, launched by Lookout Mobile Security, could ease mobile users' concerns about what information the ad networks embedded in apps they use are collecting.

by Helen Leggatt

Lookout_Logo_Vertical_372x372.pngMobile users are wary of their privacy while using a mobile phone. Recent reports highlight the increased risks of ID theft among mobile users and the Federal Trade Commission is demanding better privacy disclosures for apps aimed a children.

A new, free Android app has been launched by Lookout Mobile Security that can detect 35 of the mainstream mobile ad networks and tell the user what type of personal information is being collected. Called "Ad Network Detector" the app can also advise the type of ads that a network might display.

"The mobile space is evolving, and we're collaborating with the wider industry to define a set of ad network standards to ensure that privacy always comes first and that people are never surprised by what's happening on their phone," said the company in a recent blog post.

Lookout Mobile Security has been keeping tabs on certain mobile ad networks that have adopted aggressive "out-of-app" tactics whereby ad placement occurs outside of the app.

According to the company, "We've been particularly watchful of ad networks that are capable of pushing out-of-app ads to the default Android notification bar, placing generically designed icons on the mobile desktop, and changing browser settings, like bookmarks or homepages."

The 35 mobile ad networks currently detected include AdMob, Pontiflex, Tapjoy and Moolah Media.

Tags: Android, mobile ad network, mobile app, mobile fraud, privacy issues

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