User Privacy and Data Flow Control for Android Apps: Systematic Literature Review

Zainab Rashid Alkindi*, Mohamed Sarrab, Nasser Alzeidi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Android mobile apps gain access to numerous users’ private data. Users of different Android mobile apps have less control over their sensitive data during installation and run-time processes. Too often, these apps consider data privacy less serious than users’ expectations. Many mobile apps misbehave and upload users’ data without permission which confirmed the possibility of privacy leakage through different network channels. The literature has proposed various approaches to protect user’s data and avoid privacy violations. This paper, provides a comprehensive overview of state-of-art research on Android user privacy, and data flow control. The aim is to highlight the main trends, pinpoint the main methodologies applied, and enumerate the privacy violations faced by Android users. We also shed some light on the directions where the researcher’s community effort is still needed. To this end, we conduct a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) during which we surveyed 109 relevant research papers published in leading conferences and journals. Our thorough examination of the relevant literature has led to a critical analysis of the proposed solutions with a focus on user privacy extensions and mechanisms for the Android mobile platform. Furthermore, possible solutions and research directions have been discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-304
Number of pages44
JournalJournal of Cyber Security and Mobility
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Android apps
  • data flow control
  • mobile application
  • User privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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