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Here's How to Track the Smartphone Apps That Are Tracking You

By FastCompany

May 31, 2017

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Two complementary research projects plan to cooperate further to help smartphone users monitor how their apps are handling their personally identifiable information.

A Northwestern University team led by professor Dave Choffnes has developed ReCon, a tool that employs a virtual private network link functioning as a scanning proxy to analyze all data passing between a smartphone and the rest of the Internet by setting up a network profile in iOS or Android. ReCon can examine the contents of the unencrypted links, and it offers a Web-based console enabling users to block or alter the information being transmitted.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute are working on the Haystack Project, which is developing an app that captures data at the source, intercepting HTTPS connections and analyzing all traffic between apps and servers.

Although the two projects are expected to remain separate, the researchers plan to work together to help each other understand app behavior.

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