I was looking to download one of those flashlight apps for an Android phone. I have one on the iPhone.
Found some free ones. So, I hit the download or install button and then looked at the permissions that this app requires or is given. What! It wants to read my phone number, look in my contacts list, make internet connections, look at my school records, review my medical charts, do a rectal exam, interview my neighbors, cop a feel, practice root canal, withdraw from my meager savings, take out a second mortgage, and also, but not the last, peer into my soul and decide if I deserve Moksha or must burn for eternity in some exoteric religious hell.
Ah, no thanks. I’ll just go buy another real flashlight.
The Android market as a whole needs to address this. Or don’t. Just do what Microsoft, Apple, and every other company does, don’t talk about it; don’t even mention permissions. Shhhhh. All apps are dangerous. Secret, its between you and me.
What you expect the User to install VPN, Firewalls, Antivirus, Virtual Machines, etc. Ain’t gonna happen. Besides, security and privacy are partially a human behavior and marketing issue. Lack of privacy is profiting someone somewhere.
Funny I wrote this and later read about what Google is doing to combat malware. Synchronicity perhaps.
2012-Mar-9: My Samsung Note phablet came with a paltry set of ringtones, unlike the iPhone. Went to Android Market for some. Yup, a ringtone app wants access to everything! Just while viewing the reviews on one of the free ones, I felt a tug on my wallet. What gives? Its a ringtone, sounds, you need to access my contacts, phone, yada, yada, yada…….
- Android 4.4.2 removes hidden App Ops privacy feature, EFF grills Google about it
- Why Google needs to fix Android’s image problem
- Android 101: What some of those scary application permissions mean
- How to be safe, find trusted apps, and avoid viruses
- Use Permissions to Secure Your Private Data from Android Apps
- Android and Security post
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