So I got this new phone. Another smart-phone. It actually looks quite smart. And I can even call with it!
And it’s got all these fancy widgets that you can install. First I thought I’d install the Facebook app, so I checked it out, downloaded it, and got to reading to what I have to agree to when installing the app. I knew already that Zuckerberg was a sneaky little weasel, so I read carefully and quickly canceled. It read this:
This application has access to the following:
System tools: Prevent phone from sleeping, write sync settings
Network communications: Full Internet access
Your personal information: Read contact data, write contact data
Your accounts: Manage the accounts list, act as an account authenticator
Your location: fine (GPS) location
So… I don’t think so. I mean… Read contact data? Write contact data? Manage the accounts list and act as an account authenticator? WTF? No way!
There’s been already a whole lot of discussion going on about applications on today’s smart-phones that access private information, with or without the phone’s owner knowing about it, and I’m sure there’s something going on in my phone, too, with pre-installed things, that I don’t know of. But when installing third-party applications, you just have to be really careful.
So I checked on, found a couple of nice widgets that could give interesting info. AccuWeather Clock was one. So again, I downloaded it and got to reading what I have to agree to when installing. Did you think that Zuckerberg was a sneaky little weasel? From him I sort of get it still, since he has this whole social networking thing going on. But from the AccuWeather Clock? That app has no business sticking its nose in my private information! And it wants to access even more information than the Facebook app. WTF????
The above is a real-time photograph of the AccuWeather Clock application, just before installation. I don’t know who of you has actually installed this, but have you read what you’ve allowed this thing to access?
Allow this application to directly call phone numbers (services that cost you money).
Allow this application to act as an account authenticator, contacts data in Google accounts, Google mail, manage the accounts list, use the authentication credentials of an account.
Allow this application to modify or delete SD card contents.
Allow this application to modify global system settings, prevent phone from sleeping, retrieve running applications, write subscribed feeds, write sync settings.
Seriously, why the hell would you put the authentication credentials there in the first place, if you allow these kind of applications to freely use them? And why would this application need to have access your Google account, calendar and be able to add stuff to your calendar and to send people in your contact list mails? That’s just SO screwed up.
Have you read the terms and conditions on everything you’ve agreed to? Do you realize what implications these things have on your privacy?
I suggest you start checking what you’ve got installed on your phone and what it’s accessing. You might be surprised. Not pleasantly…