Title: Anonymity in social networks: the case of anonymous social media

Authors: Vasileios Chatzistefanou; Konstantinos Limniotis

Addresses: School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Open University of Cyprus, G. Kranidioti Ave., 2220, Nicosia, Cyprus ' School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Open University of Cyprus, G. Kranidioti Ave., 2220, Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract: The anonymity provided by the so-called anonymous social networks is studied in this paper. More precisely, emphasis is given on investigating whether the underlying personal data processing in such networks may suffice to result in tracking or identification of the users. To this end, five popular anonymous smart applications are being analysed through monitoring the outgoing traffic of Android devices in real-time when using these applications, to examine which personal data - including device data - are being processed by either the anonymous networks or third parties such as library providers. The corresponding privacy policies of these applications are also examined, towards evaluating whether the information provided to the users is sufficient. Our analysis concludes that there is personal data processing in place even in such (so-called anonymous) applications which in turn implies that users anonymity cannot ensured, whilst the corresponding privacy policies may leave room for further improvement.

Keywords: Android; anonymous social networks; device identifier; dynamic analysis; general data protection regulation; personal data.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2019.103720

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2019 Vol.11 No.3/4, pp.361 - 385

Available online: 20 Nov 2019 *

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