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Creepy Permissions For Android Apps Why do they all want access to contacts list?

#1 User is offline   sdlmd 

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

It seems most apps in the Google Play store want permission to access the list of contacts, even if they app has nothing to do with communicating with contacts. Is this purely data mining for advertisers, or is there some legitimate reason why they should do this. For example, the Barcode Scanner app that the Fly Delta app requires to scan baggage claim tickets and locate luggage, requires this permission. This seems just plain creepy.

Is there a way to download apps and deny some of the permissions they request, or are the permissions all-or-none, take it or leave it?
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#2 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

View Postsdlmd, on 17 December 2012 - 10:30 AM, said:

It seems most apps in the Google Play store want permission to access the list of contacts, even if they app has nothing to do with communicating with contacts. Is this purely data mining for advertisers, or is there some legitimate reason why they should do this. For example, the Barcode Scanner app that the Fly Delta app requires to scan baggage claim tickets and locate luggage, requires this permission. This seems just plain creepy.

Is there a way to download apps and deny some of the permissions they request, or are the permissions all-or-none, take it or leave it?


To my knowledge, they are take it or leave it.

I don't believe Android has "fine" control over such stuff like iOS does...but then it has been a while since I used Android, so they might have "fine" control over such permissions. I know older versions of Android did not as I had no such control over my Evo 4G...but that was Android 2.2 & 2.3. Android has changed quite a bit since then.

This post has been edited by smax013: 17 December 2012 - 10:46 AM

Good riddance PCWorld.
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#3 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:23 PM

Unfortunately, you can't fine-tune the permissions without rooting. (in 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2 from my experience)
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#4 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 01:14 AM

View Postsdlmd, on 17 December 2012 - 10:30 AM, said:

It seems most apps in the Google Play store want permission to access the list of contacts, even if they app has nothing to do with communicating with contacts. Is this purely data mining for advertisers, or is there some legitimate reason why they should do this. For example, the Barcode Scanner app that the Fly Delta app requires to scan baggage claim tickets and locate luggage, requires this permission. This seems just plain creepy.

Is there a way to download apps and deny some of the permissions they request, or are the permissions all-or-none, take it or leave it?

Unfortunately, with Android apps, it is purely take-it or leave-it. Most likely, yes they are data mining, though not for Google Ads. Google already knows everything you do on your phone, they don't need those permissions in the app.

If your gut feeling is that an app is reaching beyond necessary requirements, then DON'T INSTALL IT. Try to do some research into why that app is requesting them. Sometimes, you find that there are obscure functions that the app includes and requires unusual permissions. Other times, it is simply data mining.

If you are having trouble locating information on an app, by all means, post specific apps here, and we can try to help in tracking down the reason for the requirements.
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