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App Store Application detected Collecting Personal Info

Change: So the author of Aurora Feint left a comment about the stored phone numbers and emails, and said they are only for community features of the game. There are no evidence of Aurora Feint actually uploading information to their server. But we hope in the next version of Aurora Feint, users should get informed after entering the game and preferably a option that let users to choose if they want to enable this community feature.

Original Conversation:

# Jason Citron Says:
Hey there,

Can you please correct this article? I’ve written a detailed outline of what we’re doing with people’s contact list data on our web site. The short answer is we only store what you type in to our application on the web server. We never spam, rent, sell, or do anything funky with your personal data.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask me personally.By the way, preventing the application from writing to the account data file will break your save games.- Jason CitronP.S. We are posting the privacy notice now. It should be live by noon PST.# admin Says:


admin Says:

Well, the problem is that users are not told by Aurora Feint that they are actually using the information stored in the Contacts application, and the personal information collected by the app is definitely not submitted through your website.So I would like to see you guys inform the users that you are actually using the contacts information from the iPhone, and let users to choose if they want Aurora Feint to use it for Community Features.

Thanks

-Stephen

Aurora Feint is a popular free App Store game, it even got to the top 25 list from official Apple site. Bur recently users report that they found Aurora Feint secretly collection iPhone (iPod Touch) Contact information.
So first I installed Aurora Feint from App Store and run the game for about few minutes.

Then to test if Aurora Feint actually collect person info, I added two Contacts, one email address, one note entry, and web history of google search.



Now I ran the game once again, clicked through the game so it gets the time to steal my personal info and store it XD.

Okay, now let’s check the result. Btw you will need a jailbroke iPhone and OpenSSH installed to access iPhone directory. Connect your iPhone from your computer through SSH client. Go to
/private/var/mobile/Applications/*****(Randomly generated code with iMmo.app in it)/Documents
There should be a file named iMmoAccountData , download the file and open it use any text editor.

And now, what do you discover? Oh My GOD, it’s the contact information I just entered!

Are you disgusted by Aurora Feint now? Time to delete it!

However, if you still want to play this game without it collecting anymore personal info, here is how to do it.

  • Delete the original iMmoAccoutData in Documents folder
  • Create a blank file named iMmoAccoutData and put it in the same folder
  • Change the permission to 444 so Aurora Feint cannot modify this file any more.

Obviously Apple got some work to do about iPhone user privacy and properly managing App Store platform, so personal info cannot be easily collected without users notice.

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12 Responses to “App Store Application detected Collecting Personal Info”

  1. DiaL Says:

    This is outrageous if true! And indeed it does tell you about the App store’s Quality Control…
    This should really be reported because this would be a case of major privacy infringement which can only be used to a malicious end.

  2. Lawson Culver Says:

    That data is used solely to link you up with people in your contacts list that are also using it. They use it for the party-based aspect of the mmo.

  3. Don Judd Says:

    Even if they were using it to form some sort of buddy list, it’s very obvious that they know very little about network security and have no business putting my data on a server that could become the target of malicious people. I have removed their application. Furthermore the collection of private data in any form is strictly forbidden by Apple’s Term of Service the developers are required to comply to, so that still doesn’t add up.

  4. Jason Citron Says:

    Hey there,
    Can you please correct this article? I’ve written a detailed outline of what we’re doing with people’s contact list data on our web site. The short answer is we only store what you type in to our application on the web server. We never spam, rent, sell, or do anything funky with your personal data.

    If you have any further questions feel free to ask me personally.

    By the way, preventing the application from writing to the account data file will break your save games.

    - Jason Citron

    P.S. We are posting the privacy notice now. It should be live by noon PST.

  5. admin Says:

    Well, the problem is that users are not told by Aurora Feint that they are actually using the information stored in the Contacts application, and the personal information collected by the app is definitely not submitted through your website.
    So I would like to see you guys inform the users that you are actually using the contacts information from the iPhone, and let users to choose if they want Aurora Feint to use it for Community Features.
    Thanks
    -Stephen

  6. Jason Citron Says:

    Stephan,
    In your change comment above you state: “…preferably a option that let users to choose if they want to enable this community feature.”

    I’d like to clarify that the community feature is entirely opt-in only. If you never type your information in the Community tab, we NEVER send any personal data to our web server.

    Thanks,
    - Jason

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  11. mark Says:

    Stephen… stop it. You know that these guys who developed this game meant no harm in building the Community feature into Aurora Feint. I understand your concern but it’s your Virus & Spam references and your over all DMV Visit (”sorry… but reason and honesty as explanations won’t work here”) attitude that smells more more of Envy then of concern for your fellow IPhoner.

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