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(I am new to Android and to this site, so please bear with me if my question is extremely stupid and if I got the tags all wrong. Feel free to improve, though.)

I want an app to scan the occasional QR code which usually should contain an URL.

The other day I meant to download an app for that and searched the market for one that does not want access to all my contacts, my granny's underpants, and whatever else it could get its grubby hands on — to no avail.

How is it that they all want to dig into my pants contacts? Am I missing something or is that really just data mining on the app writers' part?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Here is QR Droid Private. It does not access your contact information.

Usually the reason they want contact access is because you can store contact information in a QR code. So when scanned, it sees that it is a contact and adds it to your contacts. without access to your contacts, it would not be able to do this. Another reason is that some of the apps allow you to create QR codes from your contacts. It would need read permission to do this.

Here is an example of a vCard stored in a qr code:

enter image description here

Here is the data that is stored in there:

N:John Q. Public
ADR:1234 any street suite 300 Someville\, ST 00000
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Thanks, that at least explains the mystery to me (+1). I currently do not see the value in this, but I guess all of the app writers have long since rushed to add this feature and I am out of luck when I want one that does not want access to my contacts? –  sbi Mar 15 '12 at 21:48
it is not that they "rushed" to add this feature, this is part of what qr codes are for. if they don't support it, then they are not supporting qr codes functionality. I also updated my answer. –  Ryan Conrad Mar 15 '12 at 21:49
Sigh. "Requires Android: 2.0 and up." I have 2.3.5, but the market says it's not compatible. Darn. What might be the problem? –  sbi Mar 15 '12 at 22:06
If you don't know, you're not running one ;) You can root your phone and flash a custom operating system on the phone. Sometimes this changes the phone's build.prop and makes it look like something it's not. –  SaintWacko Mar 16 '12 at 16:33
I think this shows why the permissions are handled all wrong. Instead of having to accept an app that mysteriously requires some set of permissions, Android should've been set up to allow us to turn them on and off on a per-app basis, then let the app pop up a dialog "You scanned a contact, but I don't have permission", if and only if you try to use that feature. –  Larry Gritz Mar 16 '12 at 18:56

QR Droid Private (version 5.3.3) does not ask for Contact List permission.

After scanning a QR Vcard, the app offers to add it to your list and fills in the contact form. It is up to the user to press "Done".

A common sense solution, which makes me suspicious of the real intentions of all the apps that ask for contact permission.

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