Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Are Smart Phones Really Smart Or Nothing Worse Than...

The government's proposed subsidy of 200 ringgit for the purchase of a smart phone for those who qualify, got me thinking.
pic by ordinary malaysian

Are smart phones really smart? Or nothing worse than...

Imagine all the snazzy apps you have on your smart phone that you are so proud of.

Imagine all the permissions you gave AWAY to have these smart 'toys' on your smart phone.

Yes, go ahead. read each and every of the permission that you had to agree to before you could joyously install the apps on your phone.

Unfortunately, the typical Jane or Joe doesn't even care a hoot what these permissions may be. Or is not even aware what they are or understand their nature.

So right, a typical set of these permissions, even for a simple app as a barcode reader may go like

Permissions

THIS APPLICATION HAS ACCESS TO THE FOLLOWING:

  • HARDWARE CONTROLS
    TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEOS
    Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
  • YOUR LOCATION
    APPROXIMATE LOCATION (NETWORK-BASED)
    Allows the app to get your approximate location. This location is derived by location services using network location sources such as cell towers and Wi-Fi. These location services must be turned on and available to your device for the app to use them. Apps may use this to determine approximately where you are.
    PRECISE LOCATION (GPS AND NETWORK-BASED)
    Allows the app to get your precise location using the Global Positioning System (GPS) or network location sources such as cell towers and Wi-Fi. These location services must be turned on and available to your device for the app to use them. Apps may use this to determine where you are, and may consume additional battery power.
  • NETWORK COMMUNICATION
    FULL NETWORK ACCESS
    Allows the app to create network sockets and use custom network protocols. The browser and other applications provide means to send data to the internet, so this permission is not required to send data to the internet.
  • YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
    READ YOUR CONTACTS
    Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your tablet, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals. This permission allows apps to save your contact data, and malicious apps may share contact data without your knowledge. Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals. This permission allows apps to save your contact data, and malicious apps may share contact data without your knowledge.
    MODIFY YOUR CONTACTS
    Allows the app to modify the data about your contacts stored on your tablet, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific contacts. This permission allows apps to delete contact data. Allows the app to modify the data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific contacts. This permission allows apps to delete contact data.
    READ YOUR WEB BOOKMARKS AND HISTORY
    Allows the app to read the history of all URLs that the Browser has visited, and all of the Browser's bookmarks. Note: this permission may not be enforced by third-party browsers or other applications with web browsing capabilities.
    READ CALENDAR EVENTS PLUS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
    Allows the app to read all calendar events stored on your tablet, including those of friends or co-workers. This may allow the app to share or save your calendar data, regardless of confidentiality or sensitivity. Allows the app to read all calendar events stored on your phone, including those of friends or co-workers. This may allow the app to share or save your calendar data, regardless of confidentiality or sensitivity.
  • STORAGE
    MODIFY OR DELETE THE CONTENTS OF YOUR USB STORAGE MODIFY OR DELETE THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SD CARD
    Allows the app to write to the USB storage. Allows the app to write to the SD card.
  • SYSTEM TOOLS
    PREVENT TABLET FROM SLEEPING PREVENT PHONE FROM SLEEPING
    Allows the app to prevent the tablet from going to sleep. Allows the app to prevent the phone from going to sleep.
HARDWARE CONTROLS
  • CONTROL VIBRATION
    Allows the app to control the vibrator.
  • NETWORK COMMUNICATION
    VIEW NETWORK CONNECTIONS
    Allows the app to view information about network connections such as which networks exist and are connected.
This is in fact a less demanding set of permissions. But still fruit for thought.

It is like inviting Tom, Dick and Harry into your home and giving them care-blanche to do what they like with the contents of the house, including its occupants and visitors.

We wouldn't to this to our house. But we have no hesitation or qualms to do it to our 'smart phone'

Are smart phones really smart after all?

Or nothing worse than... Ha ha

2 comments:

  1. I still have a good old faithful phone that sends messages and receives calls. I feel so behind with what smart phones have to offer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are the smart one, really. I am also still using the old 'analogue' phone, which I much prefer, though I have a so-called smart one too. Ha ha. With a smart phone and all the apps, you are not actually in control of the phone really, should those guys we give all the permissions to, choose to exercise fully those rights we have given away. So, until the day they ban the use of the old 'analogue' phone, I prefer to stay with it and do my internet matters on my notebook. For example, I don't see why an app to read barcode should want all your contacts and calender events and have the freedom to do things to them. I can understand their need for permission to take photo of the barcodes, but not why the need to use the camera anytime they like without a by your leave. Ha ha again.

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