Privacy issues of smartphones

CNIL, the French Data Protection Authority published on 13th December 2011 the results of a study concerning privacy issues of smartphones. It is entitled: “smartphone and private life: a friend who wishes you well?”
Smart mobile phones such as iPhone, Androied, Windows Phone, Blackberry, are now in the hands of 17 millions of French people and thus, it is appropriate to study their uses and privacy implications. The Study Smartphone et viee privee is published in:

Basically, the CNIL ackonwledges that the smartphone is a universal terminal that can be adapted to the uses of every person. Some use it to communicate, while others to store photos, videos, etc., but 7 out of 10 persons never loose touch from it. There is however limited protection of data stored in smartphones and no transparency. Geolocalisation poses also many problems.

Subsequently, the CNIL lays down 10 security tips:

1. Do not store confidential information (PINs, access codes, bank account …) in your smartphone (theft, hacking, identity theft …).
2. Do not disable the PIN code and also, change the default PIN. Choose a complicated code. Not your birthday!
3. Set up an autolock period of the phone. In addition to the PIN, it can inactivate (lock) the phone after a while. This prevents the consultation of the information in the phone if lost or stolen.
4. Enable encryption if possible backup of the phone. For this, use the settings of the platform with which you connect the phone. This action will ensure that no one will be able to use your data without the password you set.
5. Install an antivirus when possible.
6. Note the number “IMEI” to block the phone if lost or stolen.
7. Do not download application from unknown sources. Prefer official platforms.
8. Check on what data on your smartphone application that you install will have access.
9. Read the terms and conditions of service before installing it. The views of other users may also be useful!
10. Adjust the settings in the phone or in the location-based applications (Twitter, Foursquare, Plyce …) to always control when and by whom you want to be geolocated. Turn off the GPS or WiFi when you do not use more than one location-based application.

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