Changes promised for app permissions

Three map app operators said they would release new versions or remove the request on personal information unnecessary to the functioning of these apps.

In written reports to the Shanghai Consumer Council, three map app operators said yesterday that they would release new versions or remove requests for personal information unnecessary to the functioning of these apps.

The announcements by Amap, Baidu and Tencent came after the council judged that these operators unnecessarily required personal information from users and ordered them to change their practices on Wednesday.

The personal information mainly centered on text messages and contact lists.

In response, Amap said it conducted a self-assessment immediately and would release a new version today which would remove irrelevant permissions, such as those to obtain users’ cellphone contacts.

Baidu said in its written report submitted to the council that it would cancel its request for short message sharing in upcoming versions of its map app. In addition, it would provide a “one-time permission” option on sensitive items like contact lists and text messages.

Tencent also said it would stop asking for permission to access contact lists.

Another two app operators criticized by the consumer watchdog, Mapbar and Sougou, have not yet submitted plans to change their practices.

A survey by the council found that over 97 percent of respondents had a map app on their phone, and 40 percent had two such apps.

Some 82 percent of interviewees said they worried about personal information leaks via these apps, and 23.44 percent were “extremely worried.”


Special Reports
Top