SmarPer Project: SmarPer Tool
The SmarPer Android app developed for this project is based on XPrivacy by Marcel Bokhorst. The SmarPer tool was developed to collect data for our research study. Click here to read more about this study.
The SmarPer tool prompts the user when certain popular apps make requests for private data. The user can choose to allow, obfuscate, or deny access. Obfuscation is an option new in SmarPer, and allows access to the data at a lower level of granularity.
SmarPer collects the following information: the decisions the user makes when prompted, contextual information associated with the decision (including but not restricted to the user's location, the time, app currently in the foreground, battery level, and connection type). SmarPer also collects requests for other private data types that ar e allowed automatically, smartphone model information, and the list of installed apps. SmarPer includes logs of past user decisions for easy viewing.
In the second phase of our project, after the conclusion of the research study and the development of the automatic learning components, SmarPer will have the ability to make semi-automatic permission decisions on behalf of the user. At the conclusion of the project, a SmarPer prototype will be released with an open source license to the community.
- A rooted, single-user Android smartphone
- Running Android versions 4.0.3 - 5.x.
- Backup your data.
- Enable installations from unknown sources, if you haven't already.
- Install the Xposed Framework. You will install a different version of Xposed based on your version of Android:
- For Android versions 4.0.3-4.4.x, you will install Xposed framework version 2.6.1.
- For Android versions 5.x, you will install the version of Xposed correct for your smartphone's architecture. See the Xposed website for more details. Installing Xposed for Android 5.x is a bit more complicated than for Android 4.x. If you are an experienced Android user, feel free to attempt it yourself. If you are not, but you would still like to participate in the study, please contact us for assistance.
- Install SmarPer.
- Verify that SmarPer is working correctly:
- The user id should appear on the main menu. If it does not appear after 3 minutes, reboot your smartphone and open SmarPer again.
- Prompts from apps should begin to appear. If you don't see any prompts, try opening one of the monitored apps. You should see at least one prompt.
If you need help with the installation, or you encounter any issues, please contact us. If you are local, we can schedule a time to meet at our lab to install SmarPer for you.
There are always risks when conducting scientific research. Because SmarPer requires root privileges, there is a risk that your smartphone may malfunction. We have tested SmarPer to the best of our ability on several popular smartphone models from different manufacturers. SmarPer is based on XPrivacy, which has been shown to be stable software and is used by thousands of users. However, we cannot take any responsibility if your smartphone malfunctions as a result of installing and using SmarPer. We recommend that you back up your data before installing SmarPer.