Is your OSM App spying on you?

Thomas Skowron

Playlists: 'sotm2019' videos starting here / audio / related events

OpenStreetMap enables people to use third-party apps that seem to be more suitable for privacy-conscientious users, but are we as users really private when using OSM-based apps?

In mobile applications users generally don’t have control over what gets transmitted over the network. This means that people even in the age of the GDPR are not aware what they expose about themselves when using Android or iOS apps. This talks goes through a few popular open and closed source OSM apps and shows what gets transmitted about you and to whom. Additionally, it shows whether removing ads through in-app purchase gives users of those apps more privacy. Furthermore it will be demonstrated which tracking services are most often used and which risks of de-anonymization could arise from this. Also a brief discussion whether and how software developers can make their software more privacy-friendly will take place.

Are users aware which data gets sent to third parties and are they consenting? Do they have a choice? And is this tracking generally bad or can it improve user experience in return? Are there apps which are suitable for people who want to stay private? Is it possible to prevent tracking and how?
This talk is going to compare several OSM apps in regards to their privacy levels, but also show how closed data, commercial competitors are performing.