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Indian apps are seeking way too many “dangerous permissions” on your phone

A man watches a movie on his phone as he waits for the bank to open to exchange his old high-denomination banknotes in the early hours, in the old quarters of Delhi
Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Be careful.
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Indian apps may be a lot more dicier than you think.

A report by data privacy consultancy Arrka estimates that, on an average, apps from India seek 7.9 “dangerous permissions” from users, significantly higher than those from the US, for instance.

Dangerous permissions include those to access and modify the calendar, SMS, call logs, and storage; using microphones to record audio, sharing location information; and gathering details about emails and social media accounts. Access to these can pose a risk to users’ data privacy and security.

The report analysed 100 Indian apps—90% of which had over one million downloads—across categories like finance, travel, entertainment, and communication.

Communication apps from India fare the worst, seeking 14.5 dangerous permissions on average. Critical finance apps, including mobile wallets, also seek high levels of permissions.

“Although the type of top dangerous permissions accessed remains the same across India and the US, the percentage of apps accessing these permissions varies greatly,” the report said, adding that Indian apps access dangerous permissions 3.5 times more than US apps.

“This clearly indicates the degree to which excessive permissions are taken by Indian apps,” the report said. (The data for the US apps is sourced from a Pew Research report from November 2015, the last time the think-tank did such a survey.)

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