Saurik has announced PrivaCy, a new iPhone app which blocks iPhone apps from watching you.
The application was created to address concerns about App Store applications which track usage information and even location information for developers to analyze. You can read Saurik’s explaination below…
It has recently come to the attention of angry Cydia users that they are being watched by many of the applications they have installed from the App Store.
Sites like I-phone-home have been discussing this in detail, leading to a post on the Dev-Team Blog about one provider in particular: Pinch Media.
Pinch Media, however, is not the only tracking provider: on the iPhone alone there are three other companies: Flurry, Medialets, and Mobclix.
Developers integrate these systems for much the same reason people use Google Analytics: to better understand how their customers use their products.
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions Apple places on their App Store, these providers are unable to directly interface with the users they affect.
Instead, they rely on developers of every single application to document what information is being logged, and allow users to “opt-out” if they desire.
Thanks to applicatons like redsn0w and Cydia, however, these restrictions are no longer important: a system-wide global “opt-out” setting is now possible.
Pinch Media realized this fact, and took the lead in contacting me regarding getting this feature out there to all the users of jailbroken devices: they care.
With BigBoss, we then contacted all of the other providers, getting not only their blessing, but also their technical expertise in disabling their systems.
The result is PrivaCy: a new Settings panel that allows you to selectively opt-out of sending anonymous usage statistics to each of these providers.
This extension was a team effort, and was able to be executed as quickly as it was thanks to the help and interest of the companies involved.
PrivaCy is available to install from the Cydia repository under the Administration section. It is a free download.