Transparency – Why Is There No App For This?

asks David Talbot in a recent article on the Technology Review website. An interesting question and I'd really like to see a solution that shows who receives what kind of information from apps or the operating system itself that is originally shipped with the device.

But not through a cloud of fine print as is often the case today but detailed and to the point please. With a number of discoveries over the past few months of location information and private data being harvested and sent off mobile devices lately without users being aware of the fact, I think it is really time for this. Also I think it would be a good idea to put some law behind this to ensure that there are consequences if the devices does more than actually described in such a list.

Obviously such a feature would have a difficult time to track what kind of data third party applications send out but I think the point of such a feature would be to ensure that the user knows what he gets at the time he buys the device. Anything installed from a third party later on is his own responsibility. And Android, for example, makes it quite clear what kind of capabilities an app requests during installation and it doesn't take much imagination what an app can do when it requests Internet connectivity and access to calendar and address book.