Clueful keeps an eye on your other apps to find out which are misusing your data

by Phil Hornshaw

The ways which mobile apps make use of the data we put into them can be kind of scary. In the last two years alone, there have been several scandals revealing how an app or service was shipping off user data to some unknown location or server, or spreading what seemed to be private information to companies for advertising.

After scandals including social networking apps saving your contact list data and Apple’s iOS devices keeping track of your every move, it’s hard not to be a little paranoid about your mobile apps and what they’re doing. A new security app called Clueful aims to help you keep track of your data by scanning the apps on your phone and seeing just how they’re using the information you give them.

As TechCrunch reports, the app is created by developer Bitdefender, and it isn’t always just on the lookout for apps that are up to no good. For one thing, Apple’s regulation of its iTunes App Store helps to keep out a lot of dangerous apps like malware and spyware. In fact, even apps that are actively trying to misuse your data are actually pretty rare. In fact, Bitdefender finds more app developers are just careless with data than actually trying to misuse it.

Still, what Clueful is best at doing is letting users know what their apps are up to. Scandals like the ones mentioned above have led to lawmakers asking Apple to institute measures that explain to users exactly what apps are going to be accessing in terms of data on their iPhones and iPads. Clueful does pretty much the same thing. Sure, a basic part of foursquare’s function is to track your location, for example, but if you happened to not know that, Clueful will notify you.

That kind of information is good for users to have; they don’t necessarily need to worry about the fact that an app is accessing certain data, but knowing which apps are doing what with your location, your contacts list, and other areas that potentially include sensitive data is good for keeping smartphone owners informed and educated. The mobile sphere is developing extremely quickly, and much of the fallout from various scandals such as “Locationgate” wasn’t so much that the information was on devices, just that users were surprised to learn about it.

Knowing how your apps work and what your data is being used for is a positive thing. Clueful looks to provide some of that info, and it also tells you good things apps do, like encrypting your data. Clueful only covers a fraction of the apps in the App Store right now, however, so keep that in mind before downloading. You can grab the app for $3.99.

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