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-   -   Refused to use Facebook app on phone due to excessive permissions - tinfoil hat? (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/mobile-computing/55962-refused-use-facebook-app-phone-due-excessive-permissions-tinfoil-hat.html)

frontier204 August 7, 2012 06:46 AM

Refused to use Facebook app on phone due to excessive permissions - tinfoil hat?
Hi all,

I am using an Android 4.0 phone, an HTC One V as discussed in the earlier thread: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...ne-august.html

I noticed one of the permissions on the Facebook app is the following, and refuse to use it for that reason:

Phone calls read phone state and identity
  • Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. An app with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and the like.


The app is already installed on my phone as a "system app", but I did not associate my Facebook account with it as I like to keep "barriers" between my accounts. One such barrier is that I don't want my phone calls and phone numbers being sent to Facebook. With access to my IMEI and the ability to read numbers the phone is connected to, it wouldn't be hard for them to construct a log of my phone activity.

I know I've surrendered my phone's info to Google already (Android phone + Google account = tracking bug), but I am keeping my links to Facebook as few as possible because of Facebook's much higher tendency to "leak" personal information without you confirming it.

What do you think of my attempt to keep Facebook from getting info from me? Should I continue to avoid the Facebook apps or am I already in too deep to care?

Shadowmeph August 7, 2012 08:38 AM

Well I stopped using face book way way back as soon as I actually read the permissions and realized that I didn't agree with most of them. this also made me think about how most people just click and agree with anything on the web just so that they have access to something not realizing that they are throwing away all of there privacy rights. mind you I am talking about accessing Face book through my PC. this also goes with Google. I do understand that these sites need the advertising to make money but Jeez Facebook is the worst know wonder they made so much money in the beginning all of that info they get from people and there friends for advertising. no thank you, I don't use a tinfoil hat when it comes to the internet but I am thinking about an aluminum hat now. lol

Mars August 7, 2012 08:55 AM

Is the Android Facebook app still awful?

I'd probably pass on it.

I'm suspect the iOS and Windows Phone Facebook apps are better with their permission requirements. (Mostly since iOS and WP APIs don't allow for some of the access that the Android app gets.)

geokilla August 7, 2012 09:19 AM

A lot of apps nowadays require those sets of permission. Not the same ones mind you, but very privacy invading. If you don't use apps, don't get a smartphone.

frontier204 August 7, 2012 10:57 AM

Thanks for confirming that I'm not completely nuts :whistle:

From seeing my parents' Android phone, the Facebook app is quite similar to the web interface (essentially the mobile site's layout). Since I don't need notifications from my Facebook (I use this forum more than Facebook :haha:), the browser is just fine. If ever find Facebook going through the trouble of hijacking Opera Mobile to get to my phone's info, I'm closing my Facebook account.

@geokilla I agree I'm sacrificing a lot of the "smartphone experience" but it's one I'm willing to make. My browser + web interface is good enough that I don't need a dedicated app for everything. As for Google itself, I just smile and nod because my research group's putting everything up on Google accounts.

dustin1706 August 7, 2012 05:36 PM

Unfortunately it's the way of the future for smartphones, tablets and I suspect PC as well. Cheap/free programs apps and games, but everyone is selling your data to marketing and research companies.

JD August 7, 2012 05:54 PM


Originally Posted by frontier204 (Post 647153)
As for Google itself, I just smile and nod because my research group's putting everything up on Google accounts.

I'd say Google is the lesser of two evils compared to Facebook.

At least with Google you still own your data, even though they might mine it for advertising, you still own it at the end of the day. With Facebook, everything you post there automatically becomes their property.

That being said, I believe there are apps out there (if your phone is rooted) that allow you to block other apps from gaining such access. Kind of like a firewall. Not sure what it's called off hand though.

belgolas August 7, 2012 06:55 PM

I suspect Facebook needs that permission because you can make call from your facebook contacts. Of coarse it will need to know your phone number etc.

I wouldn't worry about it.

frontier204 August 8, 2012 11:19 AM

Yep Facebook's TOS allows collection of device information, so I definitely won't dismiss the possibility that Facebook's app will collect any piece of information its system permissions allow.


We receive data from the computer, mobile phone or other device you use to access Facebook ... IP address and other information about things like...

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

I assume part of this is the Timeline they're forcing upon me on August the 14th :doh:

They technically don't own the property, but it's sort of like saying "I'll do whatever I want, for however long I want with the object in question, but it's still yours :bleh:"
You are correct that Google's claims to IP aren't nearly as outrageous, but I won't quote that since this post has enough lawer-speak already.

Works cited / referred:
Data Use Policy | Facebook
Privacy Policy ? Policies & Principles ? Google
Google Terms of Service ? Policies & Principles ? Google

NyteOwl August 8, 2012 11:48 AM

And people winder why I don't own a "smart" phone :)

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