Apps often need permission to access other stuff on your phone to work. What is less obvious is the breadth of information collected, and why it gets scooped up. Vocativ put together a list of common permissions from popular Android apps, calling it a "barometer of what app makers think they can get away with."
Vocativ looked at the general number of permissions, as well as whether apps asked for access to phone microphones, contact books, text messages, and call logs. The worst data-hoovering apps out of the most popular apps in the Google Play store are above. That a security app is the most data-greedy is both unsurprising and disturbing. Is it really necessary to impinge on privacy to ensure security?
Here's the complete infographic:
Remember when Facebook issued a statement after Messenger asked permission to use microphones to listen to conversations? Or when Path got fined £500,000 for sneakily collecting and spamming phone contacts? People were pissed with both choices because the permissions felt like privacy violations.
Especially on Android apps, where a robot gives developers quick access to data from permissions, those developers will grab for extra data to collect because they can levy the information to advertisers, even if they don't need it to run their apps. This forces people who download the apps to choose between getting their personal data dangled as advertising bait and just not using an app. The wide breadth of permissions requested by popular apps underlines the disturbing ethos of taking as much personal information as you can until someone complains. [Vocativ]