As the concerns surrounding the data collected and transmitted by mobile apps continue to grow, Whisper Systems, a small start-up, has released WhisperMonitor, a free tool that enables owners of Android phones to control exactly what each of their installed apps can do and monitor what data is sent out from the device.
WhisperMonitor is essentially a small firewall for Android devices that allows users to restrict the behavior of any installed app and make decisions about what they want apps to be able to send to publishers and other third parties. The tool has the ability to allow or deny outbound connections to various apps on a one-time basis or for specified time periods.
“When enabled, WhisperMonitor will monitor all outbound network traffic and issue
dynamic prompts in order to determine egress filter rules. WhisperMonitor optionally records the connection history of the software installed on your
device, giving you insight into where it is connecting and how often,” the company says in its documentation for WhisperMonitor.
The new tool is included as a free addition to the company’s existing WhisperCore security platform for Android. WhisperCore provides platform-level encryption for Android devices, as well as some other security features. Both WhisperCore and WhisperMonitor are available on the Nexus S and Nexus One Android phones.
The security of mobile devices and the privacy implications of the data that app publishers and others collect on devices and users’ behavior have become major concerns for users in recent months. As revelations about the amount and kind of data–including location and activity data–that app developers and carriers collect have piled up, users have begun pushing back. Recently, users of both Apple iPhones and Google Android devices have sued the respective companies over privacy and data-collection policies.