1. Check out our companion app, Forums for Android! Download from Google Play

Application Read Phone State and Identity???

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by droidphone, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. droidphone

    droidphone New Member
    Thread Starter

    Dec 6, 2009
    Anyone know what providing an application access to "Phone calls: read phone state and identity" actually does?


  2. Papethova

    Papethova Member

    Dec 25, 2009
  3. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    Nov 29, 2009
    Android App Developer
    Edit: this is a very old post but I saw it comes up very high in Google searches.

    Not long after this post was made, I began studying permissions in great detail and now have a security guide here on the forums that explains them.

    I have also become an app developer since this post and have an app version of this guide with a few small added features (like permission search/show which apps use a permission)

    My security guide:

    How to be safe, find trusted apps, & avoid viruses

    The app version of the guide:


    (my original post)
    [Hide]It seems a lot of apps use this, especially those with audio. If I had to guess, I would think it's related to apps that need to mute themselves when a phone call comes in. And given that, I would think it's pretty innocuous.

    That's just a guess though.[/Hide]
  4. Stellartois

    Stellartois New Member

    Feb 23, 2010

    I'm a bit more paranoid than you. I take it that this means they can sense whether your phone is on a call or sending straight to voice-mail or whatever maybe even what your default ring-tone is (state) and at the very least your phone number (identity).

    Presumably (although I'm not sure) they only have access to this when the app is actually running but if they've got your number it's going to be sold on marketing lists from here to Nigeria. I guess that's okay because I always get a kick out of 419 scam bait.

    But no I'd rather not have my phone number on a bunch of marketing lists.

    More worrisome is the "Read and write contact info" authority. Maybe they just want to add themselves to my contacts list but maybe they want to spam/scam everyone I've ever felt worthy of adding as a contact. Or maybe they just want to mess with you and switch everyone's phone number in my contact list so when I call person A I get person X.

    Somewhere there must be good documentation on what these different security permissions actually allow them to do - not only that, but I'd like to see notifications. For instance if an app does read or write to my contacts list I'd like to see "Added so-and-so technologies to your contacts" in a log file somewhere. And if it were malware I'd like to see "Switched your wife's phone number with your girl-friend's phone number". Just as an example, I'm actually single so ladies develop an app that I will want to download and get my phone number :)

    Actually writing to my contacts is a sure way to make me NOT download an app and I'm questioning how wise of a decision it was to download apps that could read phone state/identity. If they are harvesting information for phone lists the horses have already been let out of the barn.

    I haven't been hit yet but it takes time. My work phone which has never been given to anyone outside my place of employment has been hit with scams or spams 3 times in the last 3 days (and yes it is on the no-call list).
  5. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2009
  6. GiantJellyBean

    GiantJellyBean New Member

    May 14, 2010

Share This Page