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Support Question about Android applications, privacy

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by AndroidSPCS, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert
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    I downloaded this application (World Clock & Widget) from the Play Store, it did not require any special permissions... https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tm.app.worldClock&hl=en

    When I opened the app, there was a "License agreement" pop-up, that read in part "When you click on advertisments delivered on this SOFTWARE PRODUCT, you will typically be directed to a third party's web page and we may pass on certain of your information to the third parties operating or hosting these pages, including your email address, phone number, and a list of the apps on your device."

    I'm curious, if the app had no special permissions, could it still read and collect the information that's stated?

    I kind of believe that this license agreement may be an outdated agreement for an earlier version that required the permissions, or that they copied the agreement elsewhere (since it generically states "THIS SOFTWARE") to this app....but I'm not certain.

    Could any one with some insight on Android app permissions comment on this? Is this something to be worried about?

    What should the average Android user like me be aware of, with policies like this?
     

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  2. Fox Mulder

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    I'd say just pass on that app and uninstall it. There are tons of apps to do the same thing so I'm sure you can easily find another one that won't have you signing away your firstborn just to put a clock on your homescreen.
     
  3. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert
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    I agree with you FM...and I removed it. But I'm still curious as to if any app could still do what the disclaimer said, since the app doesn't require any special permissions.... and if so, then any app that doesn't require any special permissions may still be able to do what is stated?

    The only way I was made aware of this was with the disclaimer. The developer could have been devious and not given a pop-up at all, and I would never have known. So I'd really like to get to the bottom of this if possible, to see if we are at risk with all apps that require no special permissions.
     
  4. codesplice

    codesplice Elite Recognized Moderator
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    If you have the app installed, I'd suggest going to Settings > Apps > (app name) and scrolling down to Permissions just to make sure which permissions it has. I know Google recently revamped the way permissions are displayed before you install an app, so it's not always entirely clear what it can do.

    Based on what I know, though, I don't think an app which requires no additional permissions would be able to the items you mentioned (email address, phone number, installed apps). You can read up some more about permissions here and here (if you're feeling extra nerdy).
     
  5. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert
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    The only permissions that are displayed are the standard network access (full network access, view network connections), nothing else.

    So I'm inclined to agree with you that it can't or shouldn't be able to access the things like email, phone #, installed apps...

    Thanks for the links to the technical details on the permissions...I think it's worth reading (I'm actually going to read it all), although having someone who is more experienced with this stuff and has a better grasp on it would be immensely helpful.
     
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  6. johnny_w

    johnny_w Well-Known Member
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  7. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    The ads are the ones that have the permissions if you click on them.

    I read the TOS for a Nook, and there were 2 opt outs, one for B&N, and one of its affiliates, but there were 2 affiliates listed on TOS that you could NOT opt out of. That gave those 2 no-opt-out affiliates the right to spam and all information. Having this type of arrangement is not uncommon.

    The app itself probably doesn't need permissions, the ads do. At least the developer was good enough to warn you.
     
  8. codesplice

    codesplice Elite Recognized Moderator
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    My understanding is that the application would still need to declare any of the permissions (GET_ACCOUNTS, etc) for any of the ad networks used with the app to be able to access personal info.
     
  9. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    Sounds like a blanket caveat. Could the app have just added that rider for future use and updates?

    I just checked the app out in Appbrain - they are better with permissions than Play at times. It's got over 1,000,000 installs and no complaints about ads. No concerns listed, either.

    If you don't ever click on an ad, does the app run with no interference?
     
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  10. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    Sounds like one of those copy-paste agreement contract, which can cover any future changes in app permissions.
     

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