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App permissions - am I too paranoic?


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Old 31-07-2014, 12:00
cp2
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Location: Standish, near Wigan
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I have unticked the automatic update option on most of my apps, in particular ones that I don't use (I would quite happily uninstall Facebook, Twitter, Google+ but cannot unless I root my tablet).
So, every couple of days I have to handle (and ignore) around 17 update notifications. Not a problem, only a minor chore.
Occasionally I decide to update an app but I am then informed that the app wants to extend the permissions it needs in order to operate.
Why does my Argos app need access to my photos, microphone, camera, wifi connection details.... ?
The Google Search permission requirements is pretty lengthy too.

So, I am currently declining updates that want to extend their reach into areas I don't think they need to go, especially if I can manage without the app. After all, I'm using a tool not looking for a new intrusive "friend".
Am I being overly concerned about the permissions I am asked to allow?
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Old 31-07-2014, 13:03
Rodney McKay
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I have unticked the automatic update option on most of my apps, in particular ones that I don't use (I would quite happily uninstall Facebook, Twitter, Google+ but cannot unless I root my tablet).
So, every couple of days I have to handle (and ignore) around 17 update notifications. Not a problem, only a minor chore.
Occasionally I decide to update an app but I am then informed that the app wants to extend the permissions it needs in order to operate.
Why does my Argos app need access to my photos, microphone, camera, wifi connection details.... ?
The Google Search permission requirements is pretty lengthy too.

So, I am currently declining updates that want to extend their reach into areas I don't think they need to go, especially if I can manage without the app. After all, I'm using a tool not looking for a new intrusive "friend".
Am I being overly concerned about the permissions I am asked to allow?
You can disable crap like Bookface and Google+ quite easily, just go into your apps settings and select the app you should see an option to disable (it might ask to uninstall updates first)
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Old 31-07-2014, 19:01
pi r squared
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So, every couple of days I have to handle (and ignore) around 17 update notifications. Not a problem, only a minor chore.
Occasionally I decide to update an app but I am then informed that the app wants to extend the permissions it needs in order to operate.
It's perhaps worth noting that automatic updates won't update an app that is wanting to change its permissions, so if this is the only reason you keep automatic updates off, it is not a reason to worry.

With regards to the permissions themselves seeming a little excessive, oftentimes this is partly the app being a bit too liberal and partly them needing broad-stroking permissions to achieve tiny things. For instance, many games will require one of the phone permissions, which at first glance looks alarming but in actual fact is so that they can pause elegantly if you receive a phone call.

If an app requires permissions that seem askew to its main purpose, most app developers will explain why they need those permissions. In actual fact...
Why does my Argos app need access to my photos, microphone, camera, wifi connection details.... ?
The Argos app states quite clearly in its app description why it requires those permissions.
Am I being overly concerned about the permissions I am asked to allow?
I think it's right to be sensible but ultimately you need to weigh up convenience against intrusion. The vast majority of developers are completely benign and don't want to steal your contacts or wipe your SD card. You can generally tell from the top few comments if an app is being too liberal in its permission requests or if the app is dodgy. It's not in, say, Argos's interests to start putting dodgy or nefarious apps out because obviously they're a big company with a code of conduct to uphold, but for smaller companies and unknown devs, it's not a bad idea to exercise a reasonable amount of caution.
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Old 31-07-2014, 19:45
cp2
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Concerning the comment that automatic updating will always ask you if additional permissions are required I found this in a search:

From the support.google.com page on "review app permissions":

When an app updates, it may need to use additional capabilities or information controlled by permissions.

If you have automatic updates enabled, you won't need to review or accept these permissions as long as they are included in a permissions group you already accepted for that app.


So, if your notepad app requests "camera&microphone/record audio", then a later update includes "camera&microphone/record video" or take pictuies, you won't get prompted when you click the update button.

I think that I'll stick with manual updates for now.
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Old 31-07-2014, 20:36
pi r squared
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But by that same logic, even when you press Update manually, it won't inform you of changes from the same category. So in terms of informing you, what difference does automatic vs manual make?
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