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Theme fund: NGI0 Entrust
Start: 2022-10
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Tracking weasel

Detect privacy violations in mobile apps

Privacy and data protection are fundamental rights and already well protected by legal frameworks in the EU. Yet, tracking—often without consent—is ubiquitous and often unavoidable. While tech-savvy users can defend themselves against that to a certain degree with tools like tracking blockers, we want to attack the problem at its root to make the web safe for everyone, regardless of expertise. With this project, we want to build infrastructure to detect privacy violations in apps on Android and iOS and crowdsource complaints against this behaviour with the data protection authorities. The result will be a web app where users can select an app from the app stores, which we will then download and run in an emulator or on an actual device. We will analyse the apps’ network traffic and detect privacy violations not just based on server connections but the actual data being transmitted. We will also check any consent dialogs. The website will then show a report to the user and, depending on the results, give them the option to generate a complaint under the GDPR and ePrivacy Directive, complete with the collected evidence from the analysis in the form of screenshots and traffic dumps.

Run by Lorenz Sieben und Benjamin Altpeter GbR

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This project was funded through the NGI0 Entrust Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 101069594.