Tools

Smartphone users concerned about privacy amid new reports

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

Senator Charles Schumer is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports that some smartphone applications can be used to steal user's private photos and contacts without their consent.

Reports reveal that applications developed for iPhones and Android operating systems allow third party access to information like address books and private user photos and in some cases share the information online.

It is an alarming report for consumers like Christopher Cooper, a senior who says he downloads about five apps a week.

"I have instagram, all the facebook, twitter apps, a lot of picture apps in my phone," says Utica College Senior Christopher Cooper.

He's not alone. It seems "apps" is the buzz word with smartphones as many consumers are downloading applications bringing games, picture editing tools, navigators even mobile banking to their phones.

"They're just really convenient," says Cooper. "I download most apps that I would normally use on my computer. So instead of going to my PC or laptop, I have my iPhone right with me."

While the phones may offer convenience, users aren't for the technology if it jeopardizes their privacy.

"I do constantly download apps that have to do with my pictures, like instagram, or photoshop or things that put tints or stickers on my pictures. So when I hear that pictures are being looked at, it kind of bothers me," says Utica College Senior Tamira Smith.

"I mean, people have a right to privacy," says Utica College Freshman Colin VanCourt. "I know I don't want people going through my phone or computer, regardless of what they're using it for. It's my private information. They don't have any right to look at it without my permission."

Schumer is also urging smartphone manufacturers to put safety measures in place to protect user's privacy.

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