M. Kern, J. Sametinger: Permission Tracking in Android, UBICOMM 2012, Sixth International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services and Technologies, ISBN: 978-1-61208-236-3, pp. 148-155, Barcelona, Spain, September 23-28, 2012.

Mobile devices get smarter and increasingly provide access to sensitive data. Smart phones and tablet computers present detailed contact information, e-mail messages, appointments, and much more. Users often install apps on their devices to get additional functionality like games, or access to social networks. Too often, such apps access sensitive data and take privacy less serious than expected by users. In this paper, we will have a closer look at permissions that users grant to apps in Android, a wide-spread operating system for mobile devices like smart phones. As it turns out, Android does not provide sufficient control to their users about what apps are allowed to do. We demonstrate the feasibility of a permission tracking functionality, but conclude that thorough modifications in Android itself will be necessary to provide satisfying control of apps’ permissions and users’ privacy.