Washington : Scientists have developed a software that enables app developers to access the smartphone data they need for app functionality while assuring users that their private information is not being sold or misused. A sleep-monitoring app, for instance, might need to access the smartphone's microphone, but only to register loudness, not to monitor conversations, researchers said.
An app developer could simply sample the microphone feed every minute or so, use PrivacyStreams software to transform the raw data to loudness and then send just the loudness data back to the smartphone for use by the app, they said. "We are creating a new way of doing programming that makes it easier for the developer and also enhances privacy," said Jason Hong, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the US.
The PrivacyStreams library includes a number of programmes that can transform personal data into a desired output. A weather app, for instance, might need to access a smartphone's location, but the output would only need to identify a city, a neighbourhood or other locality for a forecast.