Android App Permissions – Google simplified them but was that enough?

A few days ago, I reviewed USB Audio Player Pro app for android. Link to review https://gavinsgadgets.com/2015/01/08/usb-audio-player-pro-app-on-android-what-a-difference/

Reader Ziontrain made the following comments –

“One should also note that this program is likely collecting your personal information. Accirding to google play, the permissions required to install this program (“USB Audio Player Pro”) are:
“This app has access to:
– Photos / Media / Files
(Uses one or more of: files on the device such as images, videos or audio, the device’s external storage)
– Device ID & call information
(Allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active and the remote number connected by a call)”

One can understand the first permission. But the second one? Uh no – not necessary at all.”

Following Ziontrain’s comment a debate ensued. So it was decided to contact the developer and discover why the following permissions are used. And this is the reply from developer, Davy Wentzler of eXtream Software Development.

“Hi Gavin,

Thanks for the purchase and review!

We use the READ_PHONE_STATE permission so we can mute audio if you’re in the middle of a call. This is according to Android API requirements and nothing special. Top apps like Neutron, PowerAmp, Pandora, Spotify, etc all need the permission. Of course we don’t query your phone number, you are invited to come over to our office and inspect our code! 🙂

Kind regards,

Davy
eXtream Software Development”

So nothing sinister just Google still not really having clear enough explanations of the permissions used by various apps.

And one last point. If you use a Gmail or email people who use a Gmail account, Google probably has a 6 foot high stack paper mound of data on you already.

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2 thoughts on “Android App Permissions – Google simplified them but was that enough?

  1. I will reiterate my comments in previous thread, an audio app can relinquish control of the audio output WITHOUT the permission in question. I know this because I have used apps that do it. And it is documented. The developer pointedly refused to address that part, a matter which I asked you to put to him directly.

    Now maybe better to ask why this developer – and many others including big companies – choose to implement functionalities in a way that “just so happens” to expose all this personal data.

    You can place it anywhere you want to on the scale from lax to downright sinister. That’s for each person to judge for themselves. But let’s not miss the fact that it us an unnecessary risk, as audio handoff does not require that permission. It’s a choice made by developer.

    Here is a perspective along mine on the matter of permissions in general:
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/12/shopkeepers-permissions-apps-smartphone-privacy

    Like

    1. There is nothing wrong with this developer. If anything throw your angst at Google as they are the ones insisting on certain code.

      I don’t mind if we don’t agree and will leave your comments intact for others to decide themselves.

      Everyone has a right to their view and comment. ☺

      Like

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