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Store apps should ask before calling home [answered]

asked 2014-01-06 09:31:48 +0300

jsiren gravatar image

updated 2014-01-31 00:23:23 +0300

ssahla gravatar image

As I browsed the Jolla store today, I noticed at least two apps (Wikipedia and a flashlight) whose comments mentioned calling home to gather statistics. This is allowed, but in my opinion the user should be advised the first time e.g. "this app will send usage statistics to... allow / refuse?". Not telling may appear suspicious despite the harmlessness of the calling home itself.

Reworded after my initial outburst (sorry!)

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The question has been closed for the following reason "the question is answered, an answer was accepted" by jsiren
close date 2014-01-15 07:44:54.829321



Calling home is allowed in apps. As long as you dont steal the private data. Having said that I'll have to check what data it sends to home... As a quick browse on flashlight sources, it only sends statistics from application usage itself, and doesn't steal for example your contacs db.

rainisto ( 2014-01-06 13:40:50 +0300 )edit

in many EU countries the privacy laws require the user specifically authorize data collection of information stored on his device - be it only the phone ID. In my country is a criminal action to gather user data without its explicit consent, that is what flashlight app did. (cont)

c.la ( 2014-01-21 00:14:20 +0300 )edit

And Jolla, being the app distributor, may be considered a cooperative party to that. I don't want to go that far myself, but you should be very very careful with apps collecting user data without explicit consent.

c.la ( 2014-01-21 00:16:09 +0300 )edit

Do you mean this http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-08/google-data-chief-says-flawed-eu-privacy-law-is-dead.html or the infameous "EU Cookie directive"? Have you allowed google search to store your cookies, and asked your query if you allow it? Like the EU directive law says?

rainisto ( 2014-01-21 00:29:29 +0300 )edit

@c.la and flashlight app did not gather user data. Afaik it gathered usage data (not any data stored on the device). So please don't mix up the terms.

rainisto ( 2014-01-21 00:30:31 +0300 )edit

3 Answers

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answered 2014-01-09 20:34:34 +0300

The application by default should not send any data and if needed not only inform in description, but as well ask permission for first time with "yes"/"no"

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answered 2014-01-06 14:05:11 +0300

rainisto gravatar image

updated 2014-01-06 14:07:56 +0300

Yes, store QA does the screening. Calling home with applications inner statistics is allowed, as long as your application doesnt do anything harmfull like sending hidden sms'es that cause costs to end user and as long as you dont steal end users private data like contacts db and messages.

Wikipedia and flashlight has home calling in readable QML files and you can see that it only sends application specific statistic to home. Or has someone noticed that it does something else? Please don't cry wolf unless you have proof of malicious behaviour.

But yes it might be a nice feature-request to harbour to have some flag per application that it uses the network connectivity.

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But yes it might be a nice feature-request to harbour to have some flag per application that it uses the network connectivity.

I'd say it's a must have.

Tanghus ( 2014-01-06 18:11:12 +0300 )edit

Sorry about crying wolf, didn't mean it that way. I will reword the ticket.

jsiren ( 2014-01-06 22:58:02 +0300 )edit

Agree, I don't want check code or otherwise. Without a disabling feature, you are inviting misbehaviour.

wim de vries ( 2014-01-07 13:49:58 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-01-09 18:10:46 +0300

lbt gravatar image

See also :


for a discussion on why, what and how stats should be shared.

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Yes, I think that's basically how it should be done.

jsiren ( 2014-01-09 19:20:00 +0300 )edit

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Asked: 2014-01-06 09:31:48 +0300

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Last updated: Jan 09 '14