Home of:

Developer Resources, Knowledge Base

Why Do 3rd Party SDKs Need Permissions?

0
Barbara Social Media Manager
January 24, 2012

Guest Post by Steven Savage | Mobclix Project Manager

Lately, it seems a lot of mobile developers worry about the validity and integrity of 3rd party SDKs, notably what permissions are needed, and why, by the SDK. Inappropriate or unneeded permission requests confuse or anger users. And what’s worse, it might be an indication of a dishonest service or malware. You aren’t always sure what’s going into your app, no matter how many assurances are made–and when you get an alert from an app store or a fellow developer, you start to worry.

With us, people question the permissions our SDK needs. I’ve listed the most common ones I see people get worried about, below, and explanations behind why you shouldn’t be concerned:

 

  • GPS: GPS is optional in a lot of plug-ins and SDKs, so usually you can turn it off or not use the feature.  For instance, we use GPS for ad targeting.  It’s not unusual for various SDKs and components to use GPS (but I’d see if it can be turned off if you don’t want it).
  • Internet Connectivity: Another fear that comes with development is when an SDK or component needs internet connectivity–they get afraid that it means sending private information, etc.  However, as wired as most applications are, Internet connectivity is the norm for many components.
  • Read Phone State: This is the permission that reads information from your phone.  A lot of SDKs read some phone data for obvious reasons–in a lot of cases to get unique information needed for unique profiles and data.
    • Read Phone State is usually what people really worry about, since that’s something Malware would target.  But there’s every reason for legitimate SDKs to access that information, ad networks being one of those reasons. The Mobclix SDK, for example, partners with over 35 different ad networks, all with their own requirements. Some of our ad network partners cannot deal with the error rate of ANDROID_ID (thanks to the pre-Gingerbread days) and require getDeviceId() in order to serve ads. And since most ad networks simply do not serve ads without a unique id, in order for us to continue connecting devs to multiple ad networks, certain compromises have to be made. The Mobclix SDK itself doesn’t use the Read Phone State permission, but without our ad partners, we wouldn’t have ads to serve at all.

 

So to sum it up, GPS activation, Internet Connectivity and Read Phone State, when accessed, are not signs you’ve accidentally put malware into your application. They’re usually legitimately accessed–along with other data and functions we rarely think about.

The best way to avoid any angry users, confusion, and the like, is to be extremely careful about what you put into your application. That’s why Mobclix, and every other legitimate developer of tools, plug-ins and SDKs, work hard to document how their tools work and make sure they’re reliable.

If you have any other questions or permissions that keep you up at night, post them below & I’ll be sure to help explain!

Leave a Reply

 

See What People
Are Saying

tmobile-logo

“T-Mobile was able to delight customers with a fun game that could work across virtually any phone, with Velti making it possible. Velti was great to work with & their commitment to the success of the program was excellent.” - Chad Hodge, T-Mobile USA

Pic Stitch_logo

“The thing I love about Mobclix is its simplicity--sign up & you have instant access to over 35 ad networks. Not only that, but I’ve already seen a 400% increase in revenue from March, and 12M impressions a week!” - Alex Keim, Creator of Pic Stitch, Big Blue Clip  

Halfbrick

"Mobclix greatly helps manage & control the quality of our ads, and as a result, our Fruit Ninja app made over $400,000 in April 2012 alone off of ad-network sales." - Jared Oats, Advertising Manager, Halfbrick

tinyco

“TinyCo is thrilled to be working with the Velti Exchange—we’ve seen great results from the campaigns we’ve run so far and are excited about the future of our relationship!” - Growth & User Acquisition Team, Tinyco

mtc_logo_n

“We strongly believe that mobile marketing and advertising is here and we have already taken the first successful steps in partnering with Velti in this new era for the mobile industry.” - MTC Russia

mbcgroup

“Velti has shown consistent respect for policies and procedures, in addition to designing and implementing the campaigns. We look forward to continuing this fruitful cooperation in the future.” - MBC Group

Follow us

 

Who is Velti?

Subscribe to Newsletter