With stories about stolen nude celebrity selfies dominating headlines, there’s something to be said for increased vigilance about which mobile apps have access to your personal data. That’s especially true with Android apps, which occasionally appear to be asking you for permissions they couldn’t, or at least shouldn’t, need.
As it turns out, many of these apps aren’t actually accessing as much of your information as they appear to be. The issue isn’t with overreaching developers, but with the standard wording that Google requires them to use when they create and submit Android apps.
David Pogue of Yahoo Tech! used Facebook Messenger as an example. When you install the very popular messenging app, it asks for permissions to get into your phone’s address book and camera. But it doesn’t actually do anything with them unless you do something first; it’s just Google’s required descriptions that make it seem that way:
So Facebook had to use text that says, “Has access to your phone,” even though what it really means is “…if you try to call someone from within the Messenger app.” It had to use text that says, “Can access your camera,” when what it really meant was “…when you take a photo to send to a friend.”
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant about which apps receive which permissions or question when something doesn’t seem right, but it’s nice to know that a bunch of apps aren’t demanding as much access as it seems like they are — and that Google is taking steps to clear up this issue.
(via Yahoo! Tech)