Permission to access my contact data? Why?

 
  • Permission to access my contact data? Why?

    Why does this app want to access my contact data? I'd love to install it, but I'm wary of anything that wants more information than seems necessary. I don't see how my contacts are necessary to stream music.

  • The app can share tracks via email with any contact you choose from your address book or with your last.fm friends.

    • mxcl said...
    • Alumni
    • 27 Jan 2009, 12:37
    Ok, we're going to remove this permission from the build.

    Frankly I'm upset with Android for making using contact data so scary looking.

  • Well, maybe it wouldn't be that scary if it was optional.
    Like that it would ask for the privileges once the program wants to use it. Then you can say ok, I want to search for a contact so I let you access my contacts. and then be able to remember the option (or not).
    But I know that you cannot do anything about that. What you could do, however, is specify before installation why you require certain permissions.

    • mxcl said...
    • Alumni
    • 27 Jan 2009, 16:51
    What you suggest is impossible with the current Android API, sadly.

    With regard to disclaiming our usage, it doesn't look so good for us to do that really. Also not everyone reads it. And it still feels scary to see that big exclamation mark and the "zOMG we STEALZ UR CONTACT DATAS!!!!!!1!!" message before installation.

    This seems like a necessary compromise until Google improve the permissions system.

  • Thanks for explaining. I see that you have pushed a newer build to the market.

    As a user, I do prefer when an app makes it very clear why it needs access to anything nonstandard (why it needs anything with an exclamation mark). Even if it's not in the app store description, it's useful to read in a FAQ.

    If any Last.fm developers do talk to Google engineers, I do have a suggestion. I wouldn't mind the ability as a user to outright disable certain permissions. So, an app might claim that it wants to know my position, but I have the ability to say no. I had a Nokia S40 series phone before, and it had a limited ability to do just that. I would be much more likely to install an app on my phone if I can lock it down before I launch it.

    • djupp said...
    • User
    • 3 Feb 2009, 11:19
    Actually the permission model on Android is, IMO, excellent. Only the permission model allows such a open infrastructure OS to become feasible for mainstream release. Imagine if it weren't there, about ninety percent of Android-users would be living with tons of viruses and worms right now, because they downloaded, I don't know, "Cupcake" "I love you" and other apps from the store or the web.

    • mxcl said...
    • Alumni
    • 3 Feb 2009, 13:11
    I agree that fundamentally, it is excellent. I merely meant to imply that the implementation is non-ideal for apps like ours that really only need occasional, user authorised access to the contact data.

    And indeed, Google did good overall. I can't think of many engineers who would have done differently at this stage. You have to get feedback from developers first in order to know how to proceed next.

    • djupp said...
    • User
    • 3 Feb 2009, 23:41
    I get what you're saying. They might actually include this in a future release, something like temporary permissions (which might lead to something like vista UAC where you have to say yes twice all the time).
    Maybe though it'd be easiest to just have the possibility of having FAQ on the application page in the market, like in a separate tab.

    • rjsams said...
    • User
    • 27 Nov 2011, 18:33
    Because this permission is back I had to give the app a 1 star rating and uninstall it. It really is unacceptable that last fm feels entitled to my personal data on my phone.

    This is not an android limitation. The permission list is there so users know exactly what an application has access to. There is no reason this app needs contact data.

  • dang it

    Was beginning a long trip this morning and decided to pull out my credit card so I could use the last.fm app. Stupid permissions.

    Just play the music. Dont track my location, read my contacts, read my phone log, modify my calendar....

    Maybe an android lite app for those who just want to listen...

    Pass.

    • deMarse said...
    • User
    • 18 Oct 2013, 23:41
    Same problem here. The app wants to know my location, read my phone number, read and modify contacts information, read/add/modify calendar events and send emails to guests without owners' knowledge. That's not what I expect from an application that plays music. Especially when I am actually paying for the service and not just using some app for free.

    • Takitsu said...
    • User
    • 16 Dec 2013, 16:53
    Err, did you guys even read the thread?
    Until google revamp the permission system it's the only way to do things for things that actually need your location/contact data. The app's not stealing your contact data, it's open source even. go and check!

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