85% of Android and iOS apps failing on privacy, according to new report

A report carried out by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) has revealed that the majority of apps are failing when it comes to user privacy.

Of the 1,211 apps examined, the study found that 85 per cent didn't clearly explain what data was being collected and nearly one in three requested an excessive amount of personal information.

Read more: Facebook fixes app security flaw that left users at risk

Simon Rice, the group manager for technology at the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), said, "Today's results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer.

"The ICO and the other GPEN members will be writing to those developers where there is clear room for improvement.

"We will also be publishing guidance to explain the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps."

Dr Stephen Murdoch, a researcher at University College London, believes that the use of third-party advertising platforms should take some of the blame. "Often privacy leaks from mobile apps don't come from the app itself, but from the advertisements which are added.

"Quite frequently the people who are writing the application don't understand themselves what they advertisement code is doing.

Read more: Gmail smartphone app on Android hacked by US researchers

"If you couple it with the fact that the money for these apps are made almost purely through ads - developers don't want to ask too many questions."

The report was collated from research carried out by various data watchdogs in nearly 40 countries, including the ICO who examined 50 of the most popular UK apps on the Android and iOS platforms.