Due to this and the fact that there are already privacy information harvesting apps for Android on the marketplace - a team of security experts have created TaintDroid:
What is TaintDroid?
From the project's web page: "A realtime monitoring service called TaintDroid that precisely analyses how private information is obtained and released by applications "downloaded" to consumer phones."
How can I install TaintDroid?
As TaintDroid is currently compiled into the kernel, you cannot easily install it, but you have to cook your own kernel. Instructions (for Nexus 1) are available at the project web site: http://appanalysis.org/download.html
How does TaintDroid work?
Here's a video demonstrating how TaintDroid works once it is installed and configured:
Why would you want to install this?
There can be many reasons for installint TaintDroid:
- You want to learn about privacy features and play with Android kernel
- As it is currently impossible to differentiate between innocent and sneaky Android apps based only on what access rights they request, you may want to dig in deeper
- You are worried about what apps are doing behind your back and you want to know which apps to uninstall
- You want to help create Android a more secure and privacy-protected platform, instead of the swiss cheese it currently is
What can you do?
As compiling kernels is mostly beyond the reach of mere mortals currently, consider cooking TaintDroid into your kernel, if you are cooking one yourself and offering it available for others to try and use.
Hopefully increased awareness and usage will bring this program eventually into other modders and perhaps even Google's attention and something more easily accessible is offered for the public at large.
BTW, I'm just a user, interested in getting TaintDroid on my own Galaxy S. I'm not affiliated with the research program, but I like what they are doing. This information is purely FYI.