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From a privacy perspective is the sheepoll app ok to use? Whilst the owner has reassured us they're not looking to snoop there is a possibility of a nefarious deeds being done so comments? It's for a polling entertainment show so not important to install.

It also has this scary permission description:

Device ID & call information

Allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active and the remote number connected by a call

The app owner's reply:

Hey Darryn, the new app has a heap of new features we couldn't do playing from just a web browser. As for the device and call info, I think you have misunderstood it. All the app does is identify your phone so when you log back in it picks up from where you left off. There is no recording of the numbers of people you call. We ain't the CIA. We do hope to see you at our shows though. Can't wait to see your Baabaatar!

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From a privacy perspective, any app that requires more permissions than its actual usage is not a secure or private app. Is there a valid reason why they would need your call information? Is the software related to managing calls? From what I can tell, not really. You can never trust developers for their words. Many people in the past claimed they will not spy or collect additional data even with permissions, many more people will do that in the future, yet there are a lot of them who do break their "promise".

I am personally relatively paranoid, so if an app is just a news browsing app, if it requires permissions like my SMS history or anything more than its initial purpose, It is a massive no go.

  • I've quoted what the owner reply was in addition to my link. He says he needs it to identify the phone although a cookie could of done the same I guess? – Darryn Brisdaz Jul 18 '17 at 9:44
  • Yeah, I think so, no reason why a cookie couldn't, well if you clear them, it might be an issue. I would need to investigate further on the possible identification options for apps. Login could be a reliable one. – Josh Ross Jul 18 '17 at 10:23
  • Unfortunately login requires friction which would prevent uptake of the app usage. But I guess that is an option especially for those with multiple devices. – Darryn Brisdaz Jul 18 '17 at 17:33
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I'm part of the development team of the Sheepoll App. Glad you came up with the question.

When developing an Android app, you have a lot of Android hardware/software functionalities that require permission to be used. These permissions are declared in a "Manifest", basically a file that says:

  • This app needs internet
  • This app needs to use the device camera
  • This app needs to write data to the external storage.

And so forth.

After investigating, we found out that unnecessary permissions indeed were being requested by our app. These permissions have been added by default during our development phase. This issue has been identified and fixed, as seen here.

These permissions will be removed in the next release of the Sheepoll App. :)

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