My Verizon Mobile app permissions

New permissions are a bit troubling, and no explanation is given

You may love the My Verizon Mobile app because it's an easy way to manage the data you're using. Or you may hate the My Verizon Mobile app because it's bloatware that sucks precious resources away that could be better spent elsewhere. Either way, it got updated today.

The list of changes include a new splash screen and some bug fixes. No big deal, and it's the sort of thing we see every day. Also included, but not mentioned, are three new permissions that seem to be a bit out of place for what the app does. Specifically, we're talking about permission to send and receive SMS messages, initiate Bluetooth pairing, and retrieve a list of all the apps running on the phone.

We can think of plenty of good, legitimate reasons to have these permissions in this sort of app. Like sending messages to Verizon with questions and comments, right from the app. Or to check what apps are running and give you a recommendation of things to do that might save battery. The problem is, this app doesn't do any of those things on our Droid Maxx but still needs those permissions. And we can't think of any good reason for this app to need a Bluetooth connection. 

The problem is easy for the end-user to solve, thankfully. If you're the casual type, just deny the update and even disable the app in your device settings if you like. Done. If you're a more power-user type you can use something like "app ops" to kill permissions you don't want the app to have, at the risk of breaking things. But that's just a Band-Aid.

It's great that Android tells us the permissions an app has before we install it. It's the best way to do things, and we hope that never changes. But you would hope they could do a better job explaining what they all mean. These scary line items do no service to developers or users alike.

 

Reader comments

My Verizon Mobile app updated with new splash screen, bug fixes, and a trio of new permissions

42 Comments

I noticed the odd permissions as well. I sent an email to Verizon asking for clarification about why it requires those unique permissions. Hopefully I'll hear something back that's somewhat helpful...

Posted via Android Central App

Verizon?!?!?!? Who cares about Verizon?!?!?!?!?

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Nope. Those permissions are too scary. And they didn't even explain them. I am definitely not downloading this update. I do like the new icon though.

Sent from my out-of-this-world Galaxy S3

I'm not a conspiracy theorist but maybe this has something to do with the NSA?

Verizon is EVIL.

I'll stick with my pure unadulterated unbastardized uncompromised Nexus 5.

And the newest Verizon feature, this app locks your bootloader, installs all kinds of bloatware and plays a continuous Verizon banner across the top and bottom of your screen!

Posted via Android Central App

I've had no need for the My Verizon app since I found Verizon Usage Widgets by Hoeksoft. It even updates on its own, unlike Verizon's own widget, and you can watch individual line usage. Everything else I change infrequently enough that I can use the website.

Suck it Verizon. The only good thing you have going for you is the coverage (which is awesome).

Posted via Android Central App

All these people that hate on Verizon is because they can't afford it. Get Real people and stop the hate.

Sent from my awesome ' VZW GN3'

It gets old quick, too. It's one thing to disagree with something a company does, but wow, the venom that comes out when Verizon is mentioned is overkill.

Could also be that Verizon, through a court ruling, just had net neutrality overturned. Yeah no reason at all. With this app permission and no net neutrality Verizon could start throttling and/or block access to whatever app it wants. At some point apps like youtube, hulu, and netflix could be considered premium apps and they start charging you everytime you run the app.

I could see justification for apps. Searches for superuser.apk or supersu.apk on your phone. If it finds it then your line is marked with a rooted phone mark and all warranties are voided

Just my theory

Posted via Android Central App

Agreed, it probably puts you on a black list. But then again, I'd be surprised if Verizon couldn't figure that out anyway just by communicating with your phone on 4G. Who knows what they really know... Verizon NSA, we see you pee!

My thanks to Android Central for posting this article, I have frozen the app. If I need to check my usage, I can always just log into the website anyway.

You can install the superuser app and still not be rooted. Matter of fact, you can install any app that requires root permissions to run and still not be rooted.

Now, trying to persuade a script-monkey VZW sales/tech person of that is another story.

The only that I can see if the My Verizon app could tell if you were actually rooted was if the My Verizon app asked for root permissions and it was denied or granted.

WARNING- I installed the new My Verizon Mobile update today, April 8 2014... I went to make a call and My Verizon Mobile LITERALLY just asked for Superuser permissions, which I denied. Is there any valid reason for My Verizon to be asking for Superuser privs?

I did the update. Now, after reading these comments, I uninstalled the update. After uninstalling the updates the app does not work, and you are asked to go to the Play Store and update the app. You still have the option to Disable the app. I disabled the app. My phone's built-in data tracker is usually right-on with Verizon anyway. Hopefully, we will receive an explanation as to why the new permissions. Thanks AC!

It's so funny to talk about the new permissions they add in here. You are using Verizon's service any way, if you service is going through Verizon, is there anything you can hide from Verizon if they really want to see it?
I did noticed all the new permissions, but hey, i am already using Verizon does it make a big difference. If you don't like it, then leave Verizon; otherwise there is nothing you can do. Even without those new permissions, it doesn't mean Verizon is not aware what you have been doing with their phone.

I think the permissions are for the "verizon diagnostics" where they can remotely access your phone, say when you call customer service with a problem. I recently called them and the rep I spoke to was trying to connect to my Note 2 but I was still on 4.1.2. After I upgraded to 4.3 "Verizon diagnostics" shows up under application manager.

Love/Hate with Verizon love their performance and coverage hate the fact I can't get subsidized phones without loosing my unlimited data, their slow update track record and the fact they don't allow us to use Nexus devices.

Posted via Android Central App

My guess would be the latest volley between Verizon and Foxfi. Verizon recently forced an update that disabled the wifi hotspot feature of Foxfi for users whose account had unlimited data. As a response, Foxfi devs responded by telling users to use PDANET'S USB or bluetooth capabilities. This app update could very well be a backdoor attempt to track users who are in fact using this bluetooth functionality and sending an sms to Verizon without the user's knowledge. Or something completely harmless. One or the other.