Infographic: The Apps That Know Everything About You

By Ed Markowitz

It’s no secret that Facebook can track pretty much every detail about your personal life. But did you know that Happy Fish—a popular kids game based on the Android operating system—might be a worse privacy offender?

Happy Fish’s developer, HappyElements, programmed the game so that it can collect a trove of information about you (and your kids) through the app. The game knows your precise location, has access to your photos and can read your text messages. It can even tell which Wi-Fi network you’re using.

We’ll get to why the game does this in a minute—and what it does and doesn’t do with that information—but let’s just pause for a second.

This is a bit creepy, right?

Plenty of people think so. Just check out some of the reviews on hit games. Fruit Ninja, for instance, consistently weirds people out with the personal data it asks them to fork over. The permissions “are crazy,” writes one reviewer. “I will never install this until it is clear as to why the developer needs access to all your private content.”

We reached out to Jason Hong, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon and founder of, a site that ranks apps by how well they respect your personal privacy. Hong is a leading researcher on app security. So we asked him: What do the most downloaded apps know about us, and what do they do with that information?

Hong helped us run an analysis of these apps– and you can see the results in the chart below. We chose to focus on Android apps for a couple of reasons. First, there are about a billion Android users, which gives them about 62 percent of the smartphone market, compared with Apple’s 33 percent. Second, Android, unlike Apple, makes it easy to run a robot to retrieve the permission data easily. But our findings are relevant for any mobile phone user—it’s a barometer of what app makers think they can get away with.

See Infographic here

After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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