Google cellphone software poses privacy risk

A cellphone operating system designed to encourage web surfing on the go could trigger a fresh assault on privacy.

On 5 November, Google and 30 partners unveiled a joint venture called the Open Handset Alliance that aims to develop a Linux-based open-source cellphone operating system to be called Android. Anyone will be able to write applications for Android, and Google hopes this will lead to applications that free users from today's clunky handset browsers and web portals.

"They are trying to take the 'mobile' out of the mobile internet, making it as close to the experience on a PC as possible," says Ben Wood of telecoms consultancy CCS Insight in Solihull, UK.

What worries some privacy experts, though, is the combination of Google's policy of retaining users' search histories and a cellphone's ability to reveal your location and store the numbers you have called. Simon Davies of the watchdog Privacy ...

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