While we aim at investigating and developing novel technologies to push forward a user-centric model for personal data management (see PDS), we developed a service to increase the users’ awareness on how the applications stored on their phone access and manage their personal data.
P-owl (Privacy-OWL) is an android app that gives some simple indicators about the access and usage of personal data by the application installed on the smartphone. Furthermore, it provides a set of information accessible to non-technical skilled users to better understand the kind of data the apps have access to and their meaning.
P-owl ranks any installed application on a 5-levels scale, calculated on the number and the type of data it accessed. The higher the rank, the more potentially privacy-invasive an application is. It also gives a similar indicator for the smartphone as a whole(more-less privacy exposed), calculated on the entire set of installed application. The personal data are considered in relation to the resources the application can access to (e.g. the gps data as location) as indicated on the app manifest file.
You can access the list and the ranking of the entire set of installed applications. The apps are arranged in descending order according to the calculated value of personal data usage. Every application has an associated screen where all the data categories accessed by the application are listed and a non-technical data sheet. (second and third screenshot) The Personal data protection and fragmentation on the smartphone is an important issue to be addressed in the next future, P-owl is a simple tool to let users know a little more about that.