Before downloading and installing a new application, whether on your computer, Facebook, iPhone or Android or other smartphone, you can now check reviews of web and mobile apps for their privacy, security and openness.
Reviews on the What App site, by a team of about 15 lawyers, computer scientists, and privacy and security experts from Stanford University and other institutions, were recently thrown open to all visitors (who can request as well as post reviews). "Think Consumer Reports blended with Wikipedia and Yelp, but focused on the narrow issue of Internet security and privacy."
The site also reviews web browsers like Firefox and Safari, social networks including Twitter and Facebook and mobile platforms like Apple's iPhone, Windows Mobile and Google's Android.
According to the Stanford news item, "The reviews come in the form of written comments and badges that award applications up to five green bars for privacy, security and openness. Wikis accompany the reviews to summarize what the app does, and the site immediately serves up a list of links to news stories about an app's privacy and security issues.
The site also allows app developers to sign in and write notes about the privacy and security of their creations."
Check out the most privacy-friendly applications on What App? - including tools to help protect or enhance your privacy online.