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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
High-Profile Thievery
Another high-profile application has done an upgrade and, along with new features or an updated UI, started requesting insane permissions. When it first comes out a lot of the comments complain about it, but as time goes on (weeks, months) less and less people are writing comments about it, and most just complain about the UI change.

Mint has done upgrade to their financial application which now requests the ability to directly call phone numbers.

The previous offender was (and still is) The Weather Channel's application. It wants permissions to read and write SMS messages, send SMS messages, and to directly make phone calls.

There is no justification for either of these applications to have these permissions. It still surprises me the number of people who seem to be accepting these permissions. As it stands I won't be updating these applications, and if they ever disable the old version I'll just uninstall them.

Current Mood: tired

3 comments or Leave a comment
Asa Ayers [google.com] From: Asa Ayers [google.com] Date: May 17th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


Mint explained in the description that the new permission to call phone numbers is for their advice section. If you read the advice from mint and wan to talk to a person they will provide a button to call Mint directly.
Asa Ayers [google.com] From: Asa Ayers [google.com] Date: May 17th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Mint


Note that the newest version (1.10) has a permission called "Directly Call Phone Numbers" which is used by the new advice feature. When you read a piece of advice, some have the option to call Mint's financial partner so you can get more information. The Mint app will never make unauthorized phone calls.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: May 17th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Mint

The problem I have with this is that there are ways for applications to initiate a phone call without requiring the permission. The difference is that the user gets prompted with the phone number and then must press the 'dial' button to actually place the call. The only reason I can see not to do that is if they want to hide the number, but even then it'll be in the call log after anyway (I think).

So, in the end it's a permission request that adds little but makes people very suspicious.

The same applies to the 'read contacts' permission that a lot of games seem to like requesting, just so they can "personalize" the invitation message a user might want to send. No thanks, I'd rather manually add that personal touch to the auto-generated message. I don't need you secretly trying to match my contact list against their contact list to suggest friends to someone else (see Facebook IM and Email suggestion features).
3 comments or Leave a comment