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How Safe is The Private Data Stored on Your iPhone?

After studying more than 65,000 iOS apps available for download in the App Store, antivirus software specialist Bitdefender’s research found that 18.6% of iOS apps collect contact data by accessing private data—your Address Book—and another 41% are able track your location without asking for your approval.

iPhone private data protection iOS 6
We are, however, skeptical of this report—and all reports coming from antivirus or security companies—but the information BitDefender published makes us think about how huge Apple’s privacy initiative actually is, taking effect with the upcoming iOS 6. One of the greatest features found in iOS 6 is data isolation, which won’t allow iOS apps to access your Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, and Location without the user’s approval.

Unfortunately, this works only for iOS 6 users, which will be many starting this fall when the iPhone 5 launches along with the final version of Apple’s mobile OS. Until then we can worry about only 57.5% of apps encrypting our private data, as the BitDefender report reads.

Catalin Cosoi, chief security researcher at Bitdefender, said:

"It is worrying stored data encryption on iOS apps is low and location tracking is so prevalent. Without notification of what an app accesses, it is difficult to control what information users give up. We see a worrying landscape of poor user data encryption, prevalent location tracking and silent, unjustified, Address Book access."

BitDefender’s report is a reminder to Apple to keep the promise it made earlier this year: Apple promised stricter privacy controls, including notifications from app developers wanting to access private data (contacts and photos for instance). This came after the blogosphere uproar of apps accessing private user data and sending it to third-party servers. The next big step will come with iOS 6‘s privacy tab, but there are still a couple months to go until iOS 6 will finally reach an average iPhone user. [Via Cult Of Mac]

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