Application Transiency: Towards a Fair Trade of Personal Information for Application Services

Raquel Alvarez, Jake Levenson, Ryan Sheatsley, Patrick McDaniel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Smartphone users are offered a plethora of applications providing services, such as games and entertainment. In 2018, 94% of applications on Google Play were advertised as “free”. However, many of these applications obtain undefined amounts of personal information from unaware users. In this paper, we introduce transiency: a privacy-enhancing feature that prevents applications from running unless explicitly opened by the user. Transient applications can only collect sensitive user information while they are being used, and remain disabled otherwise. We show that a transient app would not be able to detect a sensitive user activity, such as a daily commute to work, unless it was used during the activity. We define characteristics of transient applications and find that, of the top 100 free apps on Google Play, 88 could be made transient. By allowing the user to decide when to allow an app to collect their data, we move towards a fair trade of personal information for application services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSecurity and Privacy in Communication Networks - 15th EAI International Conference, SecureComm 2019, Proceedings
EditorsSongqing Chen, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, Xinwen Fu, Wenjing Lou, Aziz Mohaisen
PublisherSpringer
Pages47-66
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783030372309
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Event15th International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, SecureComm 2019 - Orlando , United States
Duration: Oct 23 2019Oct 25 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST
Volume305 LNICST
ISSN (Print)1867-8211

Conference

Conference15th International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, SecureComm 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando
Period10/23/1910/25/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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