Consumer Advocacy Group Takes Aim At Jay-Z, Samsung Over App’s Privacy Violations

07.17.13 4 years ago 13 Comments

Yahoo! Wireless Festival - Day 3

It looks like Killer Mike had it on the money with his skepticism about installing the Jay-Z Magna Carta app on his Samsung phone.

The app requests access to a long list of personal stats, such as contacts, location, and even your phone’s battery life. And at the time of writing this, the app has been removed from the Google Play Store. The removal stems from complaints from the civil liberties group Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC) who claims that Samsung is crossing the line with their data collecting in this app and wants the FTC to investigate.

EPIC’s stance is that the Magna Carta has some “hidden spam techniques” that are malicious. Some of the shady tactics included, but weren’t limited to: pulling data from other apps and Google profiles on the device, spamming users’ contacts by promoting the album, and unwarranted auto-connection to Korean tech giant’s servers.

Samsung didn’t take the claims too kindly, and released an immediate statement:

“We are aware of the complaint… and believe it is baseless. Samsung takes customer privacy and the protection of personal information very seriously.
Any information obtained through the application download process was purely for customer verification purposes, app functionality purposes and for marketing communications, but only if the customer requests to receive those marketing communications.

Samsung is in no way inappropriately using or selling any information obtained from users through the download process.”

Inside the app, if they wanted to see lyrics and such, users had to do so by sharing info on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. From what I’ve experience, you don’t share any info without your consent and you can kill the request to share at their first request. The criticism seems to be from the fact the app even asking for access to all your information, which is odd because many popular Android apps, with far more downloads (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pandora) ask for the exact same information.

Ultimately, Samsung is following the same rules all the other apps follow by telling what they’ll be accessing and their privacy policy is plain-spoken. If you really feel like the app is invasive, your best bet is to not install it. Much like anything else in this world, free is never actually free and users pay a price even if no money changes hands.

PreviouslyJay-Z Sells Over 1.5 Million Copies Of ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ In Two Weeks #NewRules

Photo — Getty

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