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Amazon’s free app of the day has questionable permissions

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Slice It Amazon’s free app of the day promotion has been a hit since it debuted. Every day, Amazon offers a different Android app for free. Sometimes the app is a simple $0.99 game, and other times Amazon throws a $14.99 productivity app into the mix. Today’s free app is a game called Slice It! from Com2uS. The game is about slicing increasingly difficult shapes into equal pieces. It sounds like a decent time waster, but concerns have started to arise about this app. Installing and running Slice It! requires giving the game certain permissions some people won’t be comfortable agreeing to.

Whenever you download an app from the Android Market, Google provides a list of permissions the app is requesting before installation can be completed. This method helps customers make informed decisions about their privacy. Some apps don’t need any permissions while some require a lot. Amazon started being more straight-forward on app permissions as well. Customers have responded by becoming more active in rating down apps that request what is widely considered to be unnecessary access to personal information.

Below you’ll find the list of permissions for Slice It! We’ve placed in bold some of the most questionable permissions.

  • Read only access to phone state.
  • Enter Wi-Fi Multicast mode.
  • Get information about the currently or recently running tasks: a thumbnail representation of the tasks, what activities are running in it, etc.
  • Write to external storage.
  • Open network sockets.
  • Change Wi-Fi connectivity state.
  • Access the vibration feature.
  • Access information about Wi-Fi networks.
  • Change network connectivity state.
  • Access information about networks.

It goes without saying that a game developer (or any developer) should never need to be privy to thumbnail images of what you’re doing on your phone. It’s not clear what is being done with this information. Some reviewers on Amazon have resorted to calling this game spyware.

We’ve contacted Com2uS and asked them to explain the reasons behind needing these permissions and what the information is being used for. If we hear back, we’ll be sure to update you. Until then, always be aware of app permissions before installing anything.

Via [Amazon]

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