Samsung's Jay Z album delivered by Android Spyware app
You may have recently seen the myriad of ads for Jay Z's new album Magna Carta that co-promotes Samsung's new phones. Samsung paid $5 million to prerelease the album via their Android app, which as it turns out is reportely spyware. According to Symantec, upon installation, it immediatley harvests all of the user's contacts, phone numbers, call history and device ID as well as tracking the user's location.
There are no indications that Jay Z had any knowledge or participation in this. He must however be aware of it by now. I wonder if the irony of the album's title The Magna Carta is lost on Jay Z.
A differing philosphy between Samsung and Apple
The collection of personal data is a very hot topic these days. The difference in approach to user privacy by Apple and Samsung is highlighted by this example. Samsung's app requires access to a wide range of user data unessarily. When in reality, all it does is play back an album. It appears to some that the sole purpose of this promotion via the app is to gather user data.
Apple on the other hand has steadily made efforts to lock down user data and keep it private from prying eyes. Anytime an app wishes to have access to user data such as contacts or GPS location, it asks for permission. It is a real choice as well. You can still install the app and it will function if you decline to let it have access to your private data.
This differing approach to their business models is more important than many think. Droid users will often tout that they can download their apps from anywhere they like. Meaning, the apps do not have to go through any screening process as they do with a closed system like Apple's iTunes store. This may seem like an advantage to Android users, but it really is not. The risks with an open system that has no quality or security control are off the charts. The proliferation of malware on smart phones has skyrocketed. With the exception of those who jailbreak their iPhones, all of the malware is on Android or Windows phones. This is another good reason not to jailbreak your phone.