AAPL Stock: 117.99 ( -3.31 )

Printed from

Android dev rejects rogue app claims, still highlights risks

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Fri July 30, 2010

Android app maker says spyware claim false

Mobile app developer Jackeey Wu defended himself against claims of producing Android spyware apps today while also underscoring some of the risks of Google's mobile OS. He noted that some of the permissions his Wallpapers allegedly requested, such as for the web browser history and SMS message records, aren't in the actual app. As requesting private information automatically flags the app in Android Market before the install, it's virtually impossible to collect such information in secret, Wu said.

What few permissions Wu needs, such as basic phone access, are to help make features such as favorites work properly as a user changes devices. There's no connection to user data, he said.

Lookout, the research team that had first made the accusations, has since scaled back its claims and in an update said there wasn't any evidence of rogue behavior.

Wu nonetheless didn't exonerate Android and pointed out that the nature of Android and Android Market made it entirely possible for apps to request more information than they needed. Stylem Media's Backgrounds app requests access to deep-level settings and access to personal info despite offering much of the same functionality.

Google does retain the ability to shut down Android apps and has at least temporarily pulled Wu's apps from the Market until it's confident the code doesn't provide a risk. It can also remotely disable apps. Unlike Apple's iOS App Store and Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace, however, Google has typically been less stringent about app requirements and has usually only banned or pulled apps in extreme cases, creating situations where apps can possibly violate privacy or security. Critics of Apple have said its policy is too restrictive as to what apps can be made, but it has also kept complaints of violations relatively low.

Wu's Wallpapers app (right); Backgrounds on left.

by MacNN Staff



Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

HP 14-x030nr 14-inch Chromebook

If you're like us, chances are you've come to realize that you need the ability to access the Internet on the go. Also, you've prob ...

15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch

Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro continues to be a popular notebook with professional users and prosumers looking for the ultimate ...

Typo keyboard for iPad

Following numerous legal shenanigans between Typo -- a company founded in part by Ryan Seacrest -- and the clear object of his physica ...


Most Commented