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.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.
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.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.