Indian Retail giant – Flipkart updated it’s Mobile App yesterday (04 April 2018) and now wants permission to read your call log!

Flipkart, India’s biggest homegrown B2C eCommerce company, has over 1 Crore installations (52 lakh ratings in playstore) of it’s Mobile App (precisely 5,222,960 at the time of writing this article). The latest update (Beta) has been released by Flipkart yesterday – 04th of April and so it prompted for an update. As I would normally do (and majority of the users do), I approved of the update with couple of more apps.

But then, a prompt sought my attention…

permission prompt by Flipkart app

What? Why would an eCommerce application want to read my call log?

I decided to dig deeper and checked the existing permissions. OH MY GOD!

Not that it just wants to read my call log, has it also been listening to what I have been talking all through the day? Don’t believe it? Check it yourselves!!

microphone permission by Flipkart app

 

And then I check other permissions too!

unnecessary permissions sought by Flipkart app

 

Come on! It’s just an eCommerce application!! Why would it need such permissions? Check what Flipkart has to say (from the app store description: re-produced verbatim from the play store description)

Permissions 

In addition to basic permissions, the Flipkart shopping app needs access to other functions on your device for it to support the above features –
• Device and App History: To detect critical crashes and recover the app state
• Identity: For native login functionality with your Google account
• Phone: Read call logs to check eligibility for Buy Now Pay Later option
• SMS: To auto-verify OTPs. We do not read existing messages

My suspicion grows and I decide to check the permissions of other eCommerce Mobile App – this time Amazon, and I’m surprised by the comparison. Amazon being one of the largest eCommerce companies in the world, their Indian version of app has over 1 crore downloads (26 lakh ratings) and , however, the Amazon India Mobile App requires very few permissions and if you analyze, they seem to be just! Check the below screenshot.

comparative lesser permissions required for Amazon app

 

Then why Flipkart? Why??

Is it because of the latest pressure of increasing valuation of the company? Is it because Amazon has been thinking of a Flipkart buyout and you want to be owned by Wallmart? That’s the pressure that has forced Flipkart to tie up with MakeMyTrip to sell their offers on Flipkart, kind of aping the PayTM model?

Fine if you want to increase your valuation, but on the cost of unsuspecting customers? Eavesdropping on their privacy??

For the readers, here’s the complete list of permissions that the latest Flipkart Mobile App would want. Check for yourselves and if you are comfortable sharing such data for the sake of buying certain products, go for it. For me – I’m not comfortable and hence uninstalling it immediately!

 

Permissions that Flipkart seeks(Source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.flipkart.android):

This app has access to:
Identity
  • find accounts on the device
  • read your own contact card
Contacts
  • find accounts on the device
  • read your contacts
  • modify your contacts
Location
  • approximate location (network-based)
  • precise location (GPS and network-based)
SMS
  • read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • receive text messages (SMS)
  • send SMS messages
Phone
  • read call log
  • read phone status and identity
Photos / Media / Files
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Storage
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Camera
  • take pictures and videos
Microphone
  • record audio
Wi-Fi connection information
  • view Wi-Fi connections
Device ID & call information
  • read phone status and identity
SMS
  • read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • receive text messages (SMS)
Phone
  • read phone status and identity
SMS
  • receive text messages (SMS)
Device & app history
  • retrieve running apps
  • read sensitive log data
Identity
  • find accounts on the device
Contacts
  • find accounts on the device
 

Other

  • read Home settings and shortcuts
  • write Home settings and shortcuts
  • receive data from Internet
  • view network connections
  • create accounts and set passwords
  • pair with Bluetooth devices
  • connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi
  • control flashlight
  • full network access
  • read sync settings
  • run at startup
  • draw over other apps
  • use accounts on the device
  • control vibration
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • toggle sync on and off
  • install shortcuts
  • uninstall shortcuts
  • read Google service configuration
  • view network connections
  • create accounts and set passwords
  • pair with Bluetooth devices
  • control flashlight
  • full network access
  • read sync settings
  • run at startup
  • use accounts on the device
  • control vibration
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • toggle sync on and off
  • install shortcuts
  • uninstall shortcuts
  • read Google service configuration
  • view network connections
  • create accounts and set passwords
  • control flashlight
  • full network access
  • read sync settings
  • use accounts on the device
  • control vibration
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • toggle sync on and off
  • install shortcuts
  • uninstall shortcuts
  • read Google service configuration
  • view network connections
  • control flashlight
  • full network access
  • use accounts on the device
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • read Google service configuration