By DAMIEN GAYLE
Privacy risk: Smartphone app developers have the right to access incredible amounts of users' personal data thanks to provisions in little-read terms and conditions documents
The small print included with many mobile phone apps is giving their developers the right to rifle through users' phone books, text messages and emails.
By agreeing to little-read terms and conditions documents, phone users are giving developers the right to inspect their personal information and even find out who they are talking to.
In many shocking cases, users are even giving apps the right to collect whatever images the camera happens to be seeing, as well as the phone's location.
Facebook, Yahoo!, Flickr and Badoo all admitted to reading users' text messages through their Android smartphone apps, the Sunday Times reported.
And many other apps from less well-known developers, many of them available for free, are also including the rights to access your personal data in their terms and conditions.
Academics are now warning the many apps are little more than 'fronts' to allow companies to hoover up personal data and pass them on to advertisers for a fee.
But the revelations also make clear that the wealth of data collected by the new generation of smartphones could pose a serious risk to users' privacy.
Twitter: The site admitted that its smartphone application transmitted data from users' private address books
Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'This research highlights the shockingly poor regulation around how our personal information can be captured through our phones.
'Consumers are downloading seemingly innocuous apps without realising their phone calls, location and text messages are all potentially being monitored as a result. Buried in legalese and privacy policies are incredibly broad permissions to capture our personal information and profit from it.