Android apps and sensitive permissions

In the last two days, I’ve installed two Android apps (names redacted because it’s not their fault!) which, on install, have popped up a custom notification saying that the app “requests Sensitive Permissions”.

UPDATE: this is not these apps’s fault. It is ES File Explorer’s fault. Uninstall ES File Explorer. And everything below applies to the ES File Explorer people.

Tapping this notification pops up a thing named “Apps Analyze” which pretends to be analysing the stuff on your phone and then shows you a bunch of irrelevant information about your phone and weather and Facebook info, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the app you installed.

Let me be clear. This is bullshit. This is nothing more than malware. I wanted to dim my screen, or buy a sandwich. I did not want to have my phone “analysed”; I did not want “sensitive permissions”. I don’t think this thing needs permissions at all; at the very best it’s a completely unwanted bundled thing, like Oracle bundling adware with their Java installer. At worst, it’s some sort of unpleasant malware which harvests data from my phone and ships it off somewhere. I don’t know what it does; it’s certainly bloatware at the very least; there’s a Reddit thread about it.

I don’t know where this is coming from; since it’s shown up in two separate apps, it’s presumably some sort of third-party component, and presumably the authors of it pay app developers to include it. I do know where it’s coming from; it’s from ES File Explorer. If you are an Android app developer and you are using this thing, fucking pack it in. This is a hysterical betrayal of your users’ trust. I know it’s hard work to monetise software that you write. I know it’s tempting to scrape the barrel like this. But if you are using this, you are a terrible person and you should sit down and have a bloody word with yourself. Stop it. You’re pissing in the waterhole and ruining things for everyone. Do you really want to be part of this race to the bottom?

It’s possible that this is an official Android thing, since it’s also showing up in Google Sheets and so on. If so, Android people, what the hell are you thinking of?

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More in the discussion (powered by webmentions)

  • Matt Gaunt responded at @sil Ive been using twilight for a little while now - not seen that pop up at all :-/
  • Stuart Langridge responded at @gauntface don't know what the deal with it is. I mean, maybe it's phone malware which applies to all my newly installed apps?
  • Jaume Sanchez Elias responded at @gauntface @sil that's from ES File Explorer, I think
  • Stuart Langridge responded at @sil @gauntface have only just thought of that. Will try installing more.
  • x1101 responded at @sil I've a fan of ES for ages, but that shit is pissing me off. I'd you know of a good replacement I'd love to hear about it.
  • Stuart Langridge responded at @x1101 I only had it installed because it can browse remote servers and send files from there to Chromecast; I didn't use it for owt else :)
  • x1101 responded at @sil I've been using it to browse my network as well, plus its "root browser" mode when needed. Really disappointed in the bloat addition
  • Ian Forrester responded at @sil Oh... will save to read in detail, thanks
  • Stuart Langridge responded at @cubicgarden it's not a Twilight problem. It's ES File Explorer. So I have removed that!
  • Birmingham.IO responded at Stuart Langridge: Android apps and sensitive permissions by @sil #PlanetBirmingham