Smartphones create a security and privacy challenge because they are always connected to the Internet and carried everywhere, which means that we need be worried about what happens if the phone falls in the wrong hands and whether the information we have on the phone is being disclosed without our knowledge. As we install more and more apps to keep up with our friends on social networking sites, it would be nice to know what information is being transmitted from our phone to the Internet. Researchers at North Carolina State University are developing an Android app that users can use to control what information is transmitted.
The application is called Taming Information-Stealing Smartphone Applications (TISSA), and it provides a way to define privacy settings for other apps on an Android phone. Users will have the ability to change settings on the fly, so if you intend information to be sent you can alow it, while otherwise blocking information.
Currently a prototype, TISSA provides four privacy settings, Trusted, Anonymized, Bogus, and Empty. Trusted apps are allowed to send any information without being blocked by TISSA. Empty apps do not end any information. Anonymized apps will send enough data to allow the app to run, but no personal information, while Bogus apps send made-up information.
TISSA is currently not available for Android users, but the researchers are exploring ways to make the application available.