Inaugural app

The Presidential Inauguration is next Monday, and I was all geared up to tell everyone about the Inaugural 2013 app from AT&T and PIC. It's a beautifully done application, has received rave reviews from the folks who have installed it and looks like it would be really helpful for anyone going to the festivities over the weekend as well as the Inauguration itself. But as Politico notes, there's a bit of a thing here -- according to the application's privacy policy it appears that the app is mining your data and sending it off to "candidates, organizations, groups or causes that we believe have similar political viewpoints, principles or objectives."

The election's over. But make no mistake, this is not a nonpartisan inauguration application. That's not to say it's not a fine app -- it is. And that's not to say it's evil -- it's not. But it belongs to the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2013, and so does any data it collects from you. If you're cool with that, then cool. It's just something to be aware of. 

I'm not a big conspiracy nut. I understand why apps ask for permissions like reading contact data or your phone's wake state, and it's usually always for a good reason. But this is a bit over the top for me. It may be normal for political groups to share supporter data with like-minded people, but that's just not good practice in a smartphone application. The data that Inaugural 2013 needs to help you get around and make the most of a weekend in the nation's capital just doesn't need to be going anywhere else.

So I'm going to advise everyone not to use the Inaugural 2013 app, and that's a shame. I'll keep looking for an alternative.

 
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Inaugural 2013 has some curious app permissions

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Yes, you just have to wait in line and put the Obama App on your phone.

Then you'll starting getting your check in 2 to 4 years.

I am utterly unsurprised that a political app is a bit shady, it's always good to see AC on the case for people who might use it.

>"That's not to say it's not a fine app -- it is. And that's not to say it's evil -- it's not."

If you ask me, it's evil.

And thus is one of the problems with Android apps- you should have the ability to install the app AND not approve of one or more of the permissions. As it is, it is all or nothing. I know that is pie-in-the-sky (and wouldn't work with some permissions anyway).

THIS!

Google needs to give us fine grained control over permissions. If the App won't work with something disallowed, FINE. I'll delete it.

This pisses me off! Because I'm in a lot of people's address book. And if I start getting campaign crap I'm going to be more than a little perturbed.

CyanogenMod 7 had this ability, it was fantastic.

Having said that, data collection is the main reason many apps are free, and if everyone could stop them collecting data there's no reason they would want us to have the app, or for them to have made it in the first place.

Forgetting the privacy concerns for a minute what reason does anyone have to install this app unless they are going to be at the inauguration? If you're going to one of the parties you are likely a VIP and don't need an app to tell you where the parties are. You said yourself this is basically just a blatant datamine for political groups. It is evil. Just because it seems to be the norm and acceptable with this type of political app doesn't mean it should be.

I believe on Inauguration Day, you can watch a live stream of the ceremony from the app, so that may be a reason to download it if you're not going to be physically attending the Inauguration.

Completely EVIL.....but NO Suprise at all!

As far as I am concerned, there shouldnt be an Inaugural.....all the people that are struggling trying just make a living these days....and they live high and mighty and spend the Tax Payers money on overly lavish parites!!!!

+1
The amount of money spent on these is terrible. I would have a lot more respect for him if said no party let's feed the homeless or anything else. Obviously these cost money but how about toning it down a bit...

Edit... sorry got off track. If you Dont like the permissions Dont install it :)

I just installed the app, and that check box with the ToS only applies if you supply your cell phone number to the PIC. It is not required to use the App.

In addition, that ToS only applies to information collected from the Inaugural web site. THEY OFFER YOU THE OPTION TO SKIP THAT PART OF THE APP (bottom right corner has a Skip button).

The actual permissions from the app are innocuous:

THIS APPLICATION HAS ACCESS TO THE FOLLOWING:
HARDWARE CONTROLS - TAKE PICTURES AND VIDEOS)
YOUR LOCATION - PRECISE LOCATION (GPS AND NETWORK-BASED), APPROXIMATE LOCATION (NETWORK-BASED)
NETWORK COMMUNICATION - FULL NETWORK ACCESS
PHONE CALLS - READ PHONE STATUS AND IDENTITY
STORAGE - MODIFY OR DELETE THE CONTENTS OF YOUR USB STORAGE MODIFY OR DELETE THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SD CARD
SYSTEM TOOLS - PREVENT TABLET FROM SLEEPING PREVENT PHONE FROM SLEEPING
HARDWARE CONTROLS - CONTROL VIBRATION
NETWORK COMMUNICATION - RECEIVE DATA FROM INTERNET, VIEW NETWORK CONNECTIONS, VIEW WI-FI CONNECTIONS
DEFAULT - TEST ACCESS TO PROTECTED STORAGE TEST ACCESS TO PROTECTED STORAGE

Could they have used better wording? Absolutely. But this does not warrant the tin-hat paranoia created by this article.

If you're going to the inauguration, by all means get the app. If your'e worried about the data collection, don't give them your cell phone number, don't check the ToS and hit the skip button in the bottom right hand corner.

Swoosh! Way to miss the point!

Lets pretend I have a friend who installs this, and I am in their address book.
Lets assume they are fawning Obama fans.

Are you starting to get the point yet?

As detailed by @vansmack, the app doesn't even have access to the address book. so it doesn't matter if you are friends with someone who downloads the app.

I'll take Jerry's word over someone who posts in all caps.

The app can read any phone number you call, at a very minimum.

That was a cut and paste from the Apps permissions page, which, like all apps, is in all caps. I wasn't going to retype it all for you just to remove the all caps.

And if you only believe Jerry, read what the man himself has to say about Read
Phone State and Identity.

http://www.androidcentral.com/look-application-permissions

It does not "read any phone number you call, at a very minimum", as you claim.

I feel sorry for people who live their lives constantly looking over their shoulder.

How about Caps and colors?
Check out the permissions for Google search, pictures, video, record sound at any time without telling you. That's creepy.

Breaking news: Tomorrow a new executive order will be issued allowing them to push the app to your phone. And no, you may not delete it.

/sarcasm...or maybe not

ahhh, the good ole Executive Order.

anybody else remember back a bit, when laws were made the old fashion way, you know, by a group of people compromising and having a majority of the group agree on it instead of one man trying to force his agenda through because he knows he doesn't have nearly enough support for it.

Are you talking about Rand Paul?? President Obama has a long way to go to catch up to President Bush on issuing executive orders.