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Each phone also was loaded with programs to track what finders did with the devices, and to send that information to the researchers. Among people who found the phones, 72% tried to access photos, 57% tried to open a file called “Saved Passwords,” and 43% tried to open an app called “Online Banking.”
Most of the apps on the phones were protected by passwords, but the username and password fields were already filled out, so that users could simply press a button to access them. Well over half of the people who discovered the phones, 66%, clicked those buttons to try and start the programs.
The fact that the finders had to click a button to access the apps indicates that their attempts were likely intentional.
“This might be considered to be an unethical access attempt,” according to the study.
Also disturbing, only half the people who found the phones ever tried to contact the rightful owner, even though the owner’s phone number and email address were prominently listed in the phones’ contact lists.
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