App Permissions Gone Wild?

While I was cruising through new arrivals in BlackBerry World, I came across a tasty looking possibility.

PDF Creator caught my eye immediately as a candidate for my document tools arsenal.

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But, to my surprise I went from app review to app permissions critic in seconds. I don’t know about you, but I tend to take at least a cursory look at the permissions to access my device and information that any developer is asking for.

Call me paranoid, but the list of permissions on this one knocked my socks off. I’ll let the pictures do the talking here…

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Hmmm… Shared files… on and off my device?

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My PIN and serial number? What the Heck for?

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My name, email address, and BBID?

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Allowing the app to view, create, send, and delete PIN and email messages? Is this list of permissions innocent? Am I being unnecessarily paranoid? Notice I unchecked them all…

After I unchecked every permission request, I tapped “OK” to move forward I saw this…

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And ladies and gentlemen, before I could delete the app without even using it once I got a notification in the HUB. It was an unsolicited ad to download another app from the same developer called “Battery Booster”.

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Now, I respect the fact that the Developer has created a “Built for BlackBerry” app. That in and of itself is an honorable achievement as our own UTB app is. But you tell me, am I being overly concerned? Is the dev just being open and honest about what is truly necessary to make the app run properly?

Or what?

I didn’t like it, or the unsolicited sales spam.

Tell me what you all think of the permissions for this app in particular, and of permissions in general. Yeesh.

Canuckvoip

Dave Matthews here. I'm a phone guy by trade supplying VOIP systems for business and industry. BlackBerry devices, playing PRS guitars in my band, golf, and RC flight are my current passions.

  • razrrob

    I scrutinize permissions every time. Easiest way to create a .pdf is to print the document then select Adobe as the printer driver and it renders your document to a .pdf – easy peasy!

  • Blackjack

    Inappropriate permissions are inappropriate. I sometimes check them just to checkout the app, then I am afraid to use the app. Wish there was an explanation as to why they are needed by the developers. And finer granularity on the permissions. You need access to my camera and mic…why? and what will you be telling my associates about me on BBM. And what gets disabled if I don’t give you permission?

  • ital1

    This is absolutely ridiculous; there is no way that a pdf creator needs all of these permissions. In this world of data mining, hacks, breaches etc, asking for unnecessary permissions to contacts, emails, mic etc will not help your app sales figures one bit.

  • miker476

    I agree. I like it when developers let us know if up front what permissions are needed and why. This is the biggest reason I don’t have/load many Android apps. Just want apps to have the actual permissions they need.

  • TRUENORTH

    Well, look on the bright side. At least it didn’t ask for your underwear size or your sister’s bust numbers . … . . .. .. .

    • Canuckvoip

      I didn’t upload that screenshot….

  • Anthony

    It looks like this developer wanted all your information to spam you. Delete this app! Unwanted spamming is not good.

  • veeru789

    shared files is required as the app will need to save files or modify save files. rest is unwanted.

    • emstardeluxe

      +1

  • newcollector

    It’s the apps that then spam you about what they want to sell you that is frustrating. I had this app but deleted it because of the unwanted email spam.

  • Canuck. I think we BBRY users are on the whole, more concerned about privacy than users of the other two platforms. It’s a self-selecting phenomenon. I check every app permission before downloading an app. If I don’t like it, I boot it out. Good riddance. The NFL app was a perfect example. It was an awesome app (from Verizon) but wanted all kinds of shit. Everything really. And it wouldn’t work if you didn’t give it the permissions it wanted.

    Another is Score Mobile. They wanted a bunch of permissions that made no sense to me either and wouldn’t work without them. So I longpressed and tapped that one into oblivion too. However, I have my devices mostly populated with Built for BBRY apps, and I have found they generally ask for permissions that make sense and generally work when you deny certain permissions that don’t.

    Here’s another point- “free” is never free. When I see an app that’s free in BB World, I am suspect. I may open it up and check it out, maybe there’s a promotion or it’s a lite app that the dev wants you to get hooked on to download the paid for version, but no one can stay in business by giving everything for free so I know there’s a catch. The catch has been getting all your information so they can pimp you out to vendors. We all know Google’s business is built on this.

    This is a great time to be talking about the very unsexy subject of security and privacy. Hopefully the general public will begin to catch onto it. Good post.

    • kpbutton

      I agree with you James. I didn’t realise that I may have to give Score Mobile the boot…sad day. LOL

  • Azensun

    I’m over-cautious with permissions. As soon as I download an app, I scrutinize the permission requests, and usually deny most, if not all, of them. If the app refuses to function without all of them, then poof! it’s gone.

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