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Old 2013-04-19, 05:33 PM   #1
CamDAB
 
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Default Would YOU allow an Android App with These Permissions?

A certain high profile social networking site app for Android wants the following "Permissions" in order to operate on an Android phone or tablet.

When I saw this, and noted previous behaviors of this app disregarding it's settings I looked very closely at what it wants to do or allow to be done.

I didn't do the update, and removed the previous incarnation of the app.

My thinking is it's a massive privacy invasion, and probably could be in contravention of Canadian privacy laws.

The Android "Play Store" can used to verify the below permission listing.

Read and study these carefully and lets discuss!

Cameron

Quote:
Permissions

This application has access to the following:

Your accounts
create accounts and set passwords
Allows the app to use the account authenticator capabilities of the AccountManager, including creating accounts and getting and setting their passwords.
add or remove accounts
Allows the app to perform operations like adding and removing accounts, and deleting their password.

Services that cost you money
directly call phone numbers
Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Note that this doesn't allow the app to call emergency numbers. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.

Hardware controls
take pictures and videos
Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.

Your location
approximate location (network-based)
Allows the app to get your approximate location. This location is derived by location services using network location sources such as cell towers and Wi-Fi. These location services must be turned on and available to your device for the app to use them. Apps may use this to determine approximately where you are.
precise location (GPS and network-based)
Allows the app to get your precise location using the Global Positioning System (GPS) or network location sources such as cell towers and Wi-Fi. These location services must be turned on and available to your device for the app to use them. Apps may use this to determine where you are, and may consume additional battery power.

Network communication
full network access
Allows the app to create network sockets and use custom network protocols. The browser and other applications provide means to send data to the internet, so this permission is not required to send data to the internet.

Your personal information
read your contacts
Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your tablet, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals. This permission allows apps to save your contact data, and malicious apps may share contact data without your knowledge. Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals. This permission allows apps to save your contact data, and malicious apps may share contact data without your knowledge.

Modify your contacts
Allows the app to modify the data about your contacts stored on your tablet, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific contacts. This permission allows apps to delete contact data. Allows the app to modify the data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific contacts. This permission allows apps to delete contact data.

Phone calls
read phone status and identity
Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.

Storage
modify or delete the contents of your USB storage modify or delete the contents of your SD card
Allows the app to write to the USB storage. Allows the app to write to the SD card.

System tools
retrieve running apps
Allows the app to retrieve information about currently and recently running tasks. This may allow the app to discover information about which applications are used on the device.

prevent tablet from sleeping prevent phone from sleeping
Allows the app to prevent the tablet from going to sleep. Allows the app to prevent the phone from going to sleep.

reorder running apps
Allows the app to move tasks to the foreground and background. The app may do this without your input.

toggle sync on and off
Allows an app to modify the sync settings for an account. For example, this can be used to enable sync of the People app with an account.
draw over other apps
Allows the app to draw on top of other applications or parts of the user interface. They may interfere with your use of the interface in any application, or change what you think you are seeing in other applications.

Hide Your accounts
find accounts on the device
Allows the app to get the list of accounts known by the tablet. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed. Allows the app to get the list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.

Hardware controls
control vibration
Allows the app to control the vibrator.

Network communication
view Wi-Fi connections
Allows the app to view information about Wi-Fi networking, such as whether Wi-Fi is enabled and name of connected Wi-Fi devices.

view network connections
Allows the app to view information about network connections such as which networks exist and are connected.

receive data from Internet
Allows apps to accept cloud to device messages sent by the app's service. Using this service will incur data usage. Malicious apps could cause excess data usage.

download files without notification
Allows the app to download files through the download manager without any notification being shown to the user.

System tools
run at startup
Allows the app to have itself started as soon as the system has finished booting. This can make it take longer to start the tablet and allow the app to slow down the overall tablet by always running. Allows the app to have itself started as soon as the system has finished booting. This can make it take longer to start the phone and allow the app to slow down the overall phone by always running.

read sync settings
Allows the app to read the sync settings for an account. For example, this can determine whether the People app is synced with an account.

Default
test access to protected storage test access to protected storage
Allows the app to test a permission for USB storage that will be available on future devices. Allows the app to test a permission for the SD card that will be available on future devices.

write call log
Allows the app to modify your tablet's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. Malicious apps may use this to erase or modify your call log. Allows the app to modify your phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. Malicious apps may use this to erase or modify your call log.

read battery statistics
Allows an application to read the current low-level battery use data. May allow the application to find out detailed information about which apps you use.

read call log
Allows the app to read your tablet's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge. Allows the app to read your phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.
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Old 2013-04-19, 06:56 PM   #2
talljak
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I for sure would not, but most people do not even look at permissions screen and click allow.

The permissions you have been asked for is basically the whole phone and everything on it.
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Old 2013-04-19, 07:33 PM   #3
CamDAB
 
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And what amazes me is the mainstream media haven't picked up on it let alone the various Privacy Commissioners...

The one that sticks out like a sore thumb is the permission to let the app make phone calls without user intervention...

That one just blew me away...

The rest aren't much better...

Not on my phone!

Cameron
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Old 2013-04-19, 08:10 PM   #4
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The first three items kill it. No need to read further.
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Old 2013-04-19, 08:19 PM   #5
99semaj
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I deleted myself completely from that "service" two years ago. Evil.
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Old 2013-04-19, 08:34 PM   #6
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whoa, that's pretty bad


which is it out of curiosity?
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Old 2013-04-19, 09:15 PM   #7
NeilN
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Facebook. https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...9rLmthdGFuYSJd

It also allows them to claim their creepy new Facebook Home initiative isn't a privacy nightmare: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/04/...t-apps-you-use
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Old 2013-04-19, 10:48 PM   #8
TorontoColin
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None of that stuff bothers me because I understand why Facebook needs those permissions (ie what it does with them). If it were an app for, say, reading forums I would be much more concerned.
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Old 2013-04-19, 11:32 PM   #9
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The "Home" software doesn't need the permissions because it "talks" to the main Facebook app that does the dirty work.

There is ABSOLUTELY no need to allow an app to make phone calls, take pictures, record audio without user intervention, from my point of view, not to mention the other stuff.

The fact that the version prior to April 12th 2013, although didn't request a lot of that stuff also didn't adhere to user settings to me was a sign that there was no intention to be honest, which is unfortunate.

This massive debacle certainly will leave a bad taste with a goodly number of users, and I'm sure will pique the interest of a lot of folks who value their privacy. Also, the listings make it clear that a "rouge" app that interfaces with Facebook can certainly make use of those permissions for nefarious purposes. That fact alone should bring caution.

Cameron
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Old 2013-04-20, 07:34 PM   #10
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The sense of privacy paranoia in Canada amazes me.........personally I don't care, I understand why the FB app needs those permissions, eg 'to allow the app to make phone calls' that allows the app to use the dialer when the user clicks on a phone number in one of their contacts, without that permission the functionality is useless.
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Old 2013-04-20, 11:51 PM   #11
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From the moment people starting allowing their phone to report where they are, with various GPS apps noting where photos are taken, to Foursquare, and allowing Google Maps to know where you're going, not to mention Google saving whatever you're searching for....from the moment this stuff became the norm, people threw away their privacy.

I do use the Facebook app to check FB, so I'll stick with it I guess.
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Old 2013-04-20, 11:53 PM   #12
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You call it paranoia, I call it common sense. The example you give trivializes the situation. The app can make phone calls and take video/pictures without any intervention from you. The user does not have to tap anything or even intend to make a call. And there's no reason why Facebook needs to know who called me (and when and for how long) or who I called.
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Old 2013-04-21, 02:27 AM   #13
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Yeah, the app making phone calls is to "loose"...when requested by the user would be more appropriate and cover that off.
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