Backlash Against Companies and Their Web Apps

When is a loyalty app not a loyalty app? When it's asking for every permission allowable for your phone!
When is a loyalty app not a loyalty app? When it's asking for every permission allowable for your phone!
When is a loyalty app NOT a loyalty app? When it’s asking for all your information!

This has gotten to the point of shameless data mining in the face of the American people and consumers that use apps on mobile devices. For me – I just uninstalled #DunkinDonuts app this morning because I saw how much information they wanted.

I reached a point where I felt ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and instead of updating, I uninstalled. No more #DunkinDonuts #Coffee app on my phone. Sorry – I just couldn’t believe the whole list of things that they wanted from me, all for a coffee customer loyalty program?

Do you look at the list of Permissions when you decide to download and install a mobile app? I do! I go through this all the time when either of my two boys want to install a new game. I look through the reviews and then I click on “PERMISSIONS” which everyone needs to look at. Any game that wants access to my “Accounts” is rejected. Why does a game need access to my accounts? It doesn’t, and that’s the whole point.

So what struck me today is just how many permissions Dunkin Donuts wanted for their Coffee-Locator app. Are you kidding me? Take a look at the list of permissions that they are asking for!

Dunkin-Donuts-Mobile-App-Permissions_Too-Much-Information

In all fairness, I should take the time to list all of the different permission types, and give my two cents. See below and read why knowing your permissions is important.

Permissions-Identity
As identity and ID theft is a major problem these days, holding our personal information close is important. Other than knowing who I am (my name), no company needs to have permission to my device’s Identity section. This is a HUGE red flag to me.
Permissions-Contacts-and-Calendars
I have to say most of this is a problem for OBVIOUS reasons. But seriously Dunkin’ Donuts? Why don’t you just ASK me for all of my contacts? Who would ever give someone permission to modify your contacts? This is a big overreach on their part.
Permissions-Location
This is a feature I’m kinda/sorta ok with. I get that they would need to know where I’m at in order to tell me where the closest DD is. This is an example of location-based advertising…something I will have to learn to accept, but I don’t think they need to know EXACTLY where I am at any given moment. Am I close to a Dunkin’ Donuts? That’s all they need to know.
Permissions-SMS
I think this permission group was unsettling at best. I would never give a stranger or my local coffee shop permission to read my phone messages. NO WAY! Why does any company need this from me? The answer – they don’t!
Permissions-Phone
Again, this permission group is creepy. No – I don’t want anyone to read my phone log (to see who I’ve called), and NO – I don’t want any company to make any calls without my permission. Who asks for this? Dunkin’ Donuts does!
Permissions-Photos-Media-Files
This is asking for WAY too much! You want to read the contents of my USB Storage? You want permission to Modify what I have on there? And of course you want permission to mount/unmount my device’s data drive? Umm – please tell me you’re not seriously asking for this!!
Permissions-Wifi
This is probably the least offensive of all the permissions. Still though, why does my coffee app need to know what other devices are connected to my WiFi? More importantly, why does it need to know the names of my other WiFi connections?
Permissions_Device-and-App-History
This is unsettling too. So why on earth would I give an app permission to read my own “sensitive log data” ?? I can’t think of one good reason. Maybe DD will tell me why this will help me enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Maybe for the fact that I would tell them all my secrets – they should be buying me coffee every day of the week. But oh wait – they don’t, they’re just trying to collect the data for free. In addition to that, they’d also like permission to read my web bookmarks and my history. Umm, I don’t think so!
Permissions-Other
I think this one is just as important and flagrant a foul as the others, no pun intended. This permission is the bucket they use when it won’t fit into the aforemention permissions. I don’t want to give an app permission to read my social stream, post status updates, or access any of my subscribed feeds. No thanks!

To read Google’s full list of App Permissions and what each one of them is for, visit https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/6014972#review

I encourage you to go there and read up on what’s included with each permission group you would potentially be agreeing to. These easy to intall mobile apps ask for a treasure trove of information, and if you only knew… IF you only understood exactly what you were allowing, you probably wouldn’t. I reached that today, and I’m going to uninstall most of these apps today.

The bigger question you have to ask yourself is… why does this company and their app need all of this? How does this help them serve me better? Most of the time, I think you’ll see the answer pretty clearly – they don’t. It’s just a brazen attempt to get as much data from you as possible. They’re betting you won’t understand or bother to learn about any of this. For millions of people, they’re just going along with the herd and hitting the “Accept” button without reading the fine print. Sad really.

I already uninstalled the #FacebookApp from my phone, because you know they asked for everything. I didn’t even bother to read the permissions on this, I already knew it was too much. I’ll still use it, but on my pc and not my mobile, I don’t NEED the experience as much as I don’t want them to know where I am at any given moment, and I don’t need them to be able to access my accounts either. No thank you Facebook, Dunkin’ Donuts, or anyone for that matter.

Everyone needs to take stock in what these companies and their web apps are asking for, and think about the ramifications. Supposing I did download an app and give permission for all of this, what’s my guarantee that someone at the company is watching over it? Or what if their company server gets hacked? (it happens) Then what?

And really – what does a loyalty app need all this information for? Are they really trying to improve my customer experience, or is this just an app that really a cover for extensive data mining… spying?

Would you like cream and sugar in with our intrusive app? Oh I’m sorry, I thought this was about the coffee?!

By Louis Wing

About Louis Wing 68 Articles
I talk about this, that, and the other stuff. I have to admit I may ramble on and on... but I am usually driving to a point. Educated and street-smart, I like my beats downtempo. Read more about Louis Wing

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