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I downloaded a game from Google Play. In the permission page, I noticed that it asks for my personal information.

Allow this application to: 
Your personal information read sensitive log data.

Why in the world a game needs my personal information to run? so I decided not to install it. However, I really want to play this game. My question is this, is there any way to fake my personal information so developer of the game can not be able to reach my info?

My Android version   : 4.0.2
Model number         : GT-N7000
Baseband version     : N7000XXLB2
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4  
This app wants the "read logs" capability which may include sensitive information logged by other apps (also system apps). However note, that this specific problem has been adressed by Google with Jelly Bean onwards (apps can only read their very own logs, and not everything in the log since then). You have Cyanogenmod (or similar), right? (if so, you can have a look at PDroid (here, here and here)) –  ce4 Feb 12 '13 at 10:06
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Nope, no official ROMs are supported. It's a rather invasive patch that depends on a firmware as close to Android 4.2 as possible. A number of aftermarket ROMs are supported (from the above linked Autopatcher thread: CM10, CM10.1, AOSP and AOKP 4.1.2 and 4.2.1. Evervolv, PA and SlimRom 4.2.1.) PS: Doesn't the N7000 only have an official Android 4.1.2 firmware yet? That's why I thought you might have CyanogenMod. Android 4.0 and 4.1 are also supported but with the same restrictions on the supported firmwares. –  ce4 Feb 12 '13 at 11:22
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Bottom line: The read logs permission on Android 4.1+ is safe. You can install the app without fear on Jelly Bean devices (but not ICS and below). –  ce4 Feb 12 '13 at 11:25
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ok. It's baked into the firmware, i.e. you need to upgrade if you want that functionality. You can either install an aftermarket mod (4.2.1) and additionally apply the pdroid patch for fine grained control or upgrade to an official JellyBean firmware to (only) get the read logs security. –  ce4 Feb 12 '13 at 13:31
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Have you checked the app description either in the Play Store or on the official web site to see if it has an explanation for why it needs that information? Have you considered contacting the developer directly and asking? –  Al E. Feb 12 '13 at 13:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Summing up from the comments on the question itself, so it doesn't "get lost":

As ce4 pointed out: The READ_LOGS permission requested by the app grants it access to the system logs, which might include sensitive information logged by other apps (also system apps). However note, that this specific problem has been adressed by Google with Jelly Bean onwards (apps can only read their very own logs, and not everything in the log since then). So the READ_LOGS permission on Android 4.1+ is safe. You can install the app without fear on Jelly Bean devices (but not ICS and below).

PDroid

If one has CyanogenMod (or a compatible ROM) installed, there's the option to use PDroid in one of its incarnations. Visit the XDA-Developers for information on...

  • The OpenPDroid AutoPatcher, working on Linux, MacOSX, and meanwhile also Windows. With this tool you can patch a ROM image so it will contain the PDroid functionality.
  • The OpenPDroid project. This thread gives you detailed information on what OpenPDroid is, what it does, what features it includes, and more.
  • PDroid 2.0, which now also offers support for stock ROMs. Tons of screenshots there, for sure an interesting read!

Still, PDroid is nothing for Android newbies to install -- it's not like just picking an .apk and go. All PDroid incarnations require you to patch an existing ROM image file, which you then must flash to your device. So no easy-go.

LBE

LBE Privacy Guard, on the other hand, can just be installed straight from the playstore if you run Android 4.0 or below. There are issues with JellyBean like e.g. boot-loops, so do not install the playstore version on JellyBean devices! At least not if it was not updated May 2013 or later. You have been warned!

For JellyBean users, again XDA is a good source: some busy members took care to translate the Chinese LBE安全大师 (LBE Security Master) to different languages. The thread can be found here, and this version does not boot-loop JellyBean.

XPrivacy

XPrivacy is pretty new in this area (I just discovered it recently, after I wrote this answer -- so I felt the need to update it). As with the other mentioned solutions, it requires a rooted device. In order to install the app, you also need a Custom Recovery such as e.g. or . XPrivacy is based on the Xposed-Framework, so you will need that as well. Requiring Android 4.1 or higher, this seems a nice option for those having used LBE Privacy Guard before, and don't want to use the overloaded LBE Security Master on JellyBean.

From its behavior it's comparable to LBE: on a per-app basis, permissions can be set separately. In most cases, if you "revoke" a permission, "fake data" will be served instead -- with two exceptions, where this seems not to be possible (internet and external storage). More details can be found on the project page.

CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, & Co. with Privacy Guard

CM 10.1 nightlies and onwards of CyanogenMod as well as Paranoid Android already ship with a Privacy Guard, which lets you define what apps should be placed into "incognito mode". While that's better than nothing, it's just an on/off switch: either the app is put into "incognito", or it is not. No selective withdrawal of permissions here.

Android 4.3+ App-Ops

With Android 4.3, Google finally introduced a kind of "permission manager". In 4.3, it's still hidden, but can easily be made available: App-Ops allow you a fine grained control over your privacy, almost similar to what PDroid, LBE, and XPrivacy provide. But just almost: not all permissions can be revoked here (e.g. network/internet access cannot).

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From what I've read about Android 4.3, the security is clamped down alright (dmesg_restrict which means you need to be root to read the kernel log), and also, from rumours, parts of the app ops is slightly broken...?! unsure –  t0mm13b Aug 4 '13 at 19:39
    
All I've read about this was it should be working, but apps might crash (i.e. information is not "faked" like with LBE etc., but simply the permission revoked). I cannot verify myself, but nowhere was the word that root is needed, AFAIR. –  Izzy Aug 4 '13 at 20:03
    
Yeah, Even Chainfire had trouble in getting Superuser app to work comfortably with 4.3 as well.. and it would be fair to say it would have broken a few apps such as LBE etc –  t0mm13b Aug 4 '13 at 20:11
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If you ask Steven Kondik (Mr. Cyanogen), root will die soon either. LBE was good up to ICS. The "new LBE" working with JB is a monster. –  Izzy Aug 4 '13 at 20:24
    
cheers for the linky... did not about the demise of root! how the eff did I miss that - TIL! +1 –  t0mm13b Aug 4 '13 at 20:26

Log Data can't be faked without root and doing that would be a painful waste of time. All phones pre 4.1 that app can access a list of everything the phone has been doing (after you install 4.1 it can only access what it has been doing itself). You will have to trust the maker of the game to not use any logs maliciously currently or you can try and use this http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1923576. I would recommend trusting the app or uninstalling it.

If you still want to play the game and be sure no one is getting your logs, you can play in aeroplane mode and then uninstall the app before you take it off aeroplane mode.

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