Mark Bridge writes:
It may have been done with the best possible intentions, but developer Daniel Amitay has managed to upset a few people after releasing information gathered by his Big Brother Camera Security app.
The app helped iPhone users to protect themselves against thieves; not only did it lock the user’s iPhone if left unattended, it would use the phone’s camera to take a photo of anyone who tried unsuccessfully to unlock the device.
However, the app also sent Mr Amitay an anonymised record of the passwords that were used. He then published this data - from almost a quarter of a million 4-digit codes - to show what the most used (and therefore least secure) PIN codes were.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 1234 was the favourite, followed by 0000. In fact, just ten four-digit combinations accounted for 15% of all passcodes.
The following day, Apple removed the application from the Apple App Store. Its concern is not that the survey information would make it easier for criminals to unlock iPhones; instead, it’s apparently unhappy that the app sent password information to the developer without making this clear to users. Mr Amitay insists no user-identifiable information was sent - and points out that the iTunes user agreement appears to permit this. He’s now submitted a new version of the app without the data tracking.