SoundHound May Ignore Permissions, But Your Android Does Not

BlackBerry explains SoundHound’s odd behavior

A few days ago, we reported about some odd behavior exhibited by SoundHound in the BlackBerry DTEK app. Alerted by one of our readers, @Jubatus1, that SoundHound was utilizing permissions which had been denied, we set about testing it ourselves. Several within our testing groups saw the same results. Even with permissions denied to the app, the app was still showing in the DTEK app as utilizing those permissions.

@Jubatus1 reported this not only to us, but also alerted Google and BlackBerry to the matter. At this point, he has still not received a response from Google. BlackBerry responded right away with notice that BlackBerry’s Security Response Team was looking into the issue. Earlier today, they reported their finding back to @Jubatus1.

Users of SoundHound can rest easy. The app is not overstepping it’s bounds, thanks to the operating system itself. The response states:

“DTEK will alert you to attempts to access certain functionality, even if that attempt fails. The information is provided so that users know what information an application is trying to retrieve from them, but the operating system will respect the privilege choices the user has made for an application”

Not only was it a very quick response from BlackBerry, it’s also useful information to hold on to. It makes sense that privileges would be controlled at the OS level, as opposed to having to be coded in to apps. At the same time, it makes sense that the apps would still continue to attempt to use those privileges as part of it’s normal operation, and it’s incredibly nice to know that the android OS will halt those attempts if the user has denied those permissions. Yet DTEK will continue to inform the user. By showing the user the attempts, we can see just how often apps are attempting to glean information on us, while not allowing them that information.

Thanks to @Jubatus for including us in this inquiry, it is information which will surely be of help to multiple users. And thanks to BlackBerry for the very quick response! I’m sure Google will respond someday.


Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.