The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
The response to WhatApp.org has been wonderful, thanks! We now have over 20 registered and approved experts from a wide variety of sectors, including privacy compliance, law, and computer science. Many (many) people have signed up, left comments, edited wikis, or suggested apps to review for privacy, security, and openness. (We're going to run out of apps to review, so please do "add an app" if you get a chance!) If you have comments or questions, please email email@example.com. It's a work in progress and we need your help. Thanks again---especially to the Rose Foundation for their generous support.
There's an app for everything these days. But users often don't have a complete picture of the applications they download and use. Privacy policies are technical or vague and seldom allow users to compare practices among different services. Too often users are compelled to forgo their privacy if they want to use a given online product or service. There is little ability to choose an application based on better privacy or security practices because there are few ways to learn that information at the time of download.
Indeed, ninety-one percent of respondents to a TRUSTe survey expressed a willingness to take further steps to safeguard their privacy if presented with usable tools.
WhatApp.org is an app review website that tries to do just that. WhatApp.org combines traditional consumer reporting and review tools with wikis, ratings, and news feeds to allow both savvy Internet experts and novices to share insights about privacy and security features. With nearly 200 applications from a diverse array of platforms (iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Android, and Firefox), WhatApp.org aims to help fill the current market gap between consumer demand for privacy friendly applications and insufficient practices employed by many, though certainly not all, developers. Here's how to get involved:
A generous grant from the Rose Foundation has made it possible for the Center to develop WhatApp?, an expert and user-driven review website for software apps that focuses on privacy, security, and other Silicon Values. We now have a working alpha, which we will spend the summer testing, improving, and populating with content in anticipation of a beta next year. The attached is a series of screen shots from a Power Point presentation of the demo. Thanks to Quinn Interactive for their timely, high-quality work thus far.
Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, is quoted in the LA Times on the launch of WhatApp?, a website that reviews how well web applications protect users' privacy:
With Apple Inc.'s iPad rolling out this weekend, developers are scrambling to create new applications — or apps.
But are they safe? That's the question a new Web site hopes to help answer.
Internet security experts at Stanford University launched a site Friday that reviews how well certain Web and mobile applications protect users' privacy.
Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, is interviewed by the Stanford Report on the launch of WhatApp?, a website that reviews web and mobile apps for privacy, security, and openness. Adam Gorlick filed this story:
About to download a new application to your smartphone? Ready to play a game on Facebook that requires you to join a network? All you have to do is share a little bit of personal information, trust the systems are secure, and you're on your way.
Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society (CIS), discusses WhatApp, a project initiated by CIS to assess the security and privacy of software applications:
This spring, a project under development to help assess the security and privacy of software applications will go public. WhatApp, an online resource where experts and the public alike can rate applications based on how well-behaved they are, will help consumers to exercise their privacy rights, said its project manager.