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Where do you (HN) guys draw the line between good app & bad app?

There seems to be a lot of "tin foil hat" responses here regarding permissions and personal information. I'm an Android developer with a top selling app that uses a TON of permissions (it features a bunch of system utility switches & stats).

There's nothing I see about OpenSignal being a malicious app, but a lot of responses seem to presume otherwise despite OpenSignal team members being present and responsive here.

What justifies the hard, negative position?

I'm really very curious. What's the deal, please?

As a technically inclined member of the HN community I am acutely aware of the implications of leaking my personally identifiable information out into the world and having it be stored/analysed/sold/copied for eternity. I think many of us are.

Simply inquiring about how/why this information is used/asked for does not imply that we're having a 'hard negative reaction'. It just means that we're aware of our right to privacy and are actively trying to assert and protect it.

Personally, I applaud the OpenSignal developers being active here and answering questions. Also, just because you might not be using the information you collect in your apps for nefarious purposes doesn't mean that nobody does. Finally, I don't expect you or anyone else to be the guardians of my privacy. Only I can be charged with that task.


We posted on HN for exactly this type of constructive criticism (though we do hope that there are a few quiet users who are enjoying our app and don't feel the need to post a plain back slapping comment that isn't really part of the spirit of HN anyway).

Privacy is something we take very seriously at OpenSignal. For one, we watched CarrierIQ get torn apart[1] after it came to light the types of data that they were collecting of their users. Its obvious to us that if we ever abused our user's privacy the same thing would happen to us, so not only do we consider ourselves moral people there are clear market forces from preventing us from using your private data, which might be more reassuring to some.

We also only look at data related to your wireless service e.g. signal strength, data speeds etc and always anonymize it. It's worth remembering that not too long ago studies found that 50% of top android apps were tracking and collecting personal data[2] such as IMEIs, phone numbers, sms etc and these are not crowd-sourced data gathering apps, this was a random sample of the top 30 android apps at the time of the study. With that in mind, we don't begrudge anyone who wants to check our privacy standards are up to scratch.

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/01/carrier-iq-how-to-find-it-a... [2] http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/30/study-select-android-apps...


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