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Ben Would Be Proud

December 17th, 2011 | Posted by Skylar in Android Software | Locale Call Filter | Locale Media Scanner | Locale Mobile Data | Locale SD Card | Locale SMS

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

– Benjamin Franklin, 1775

We take user data and privacy very seriously. We also have to protect our own assets and intellectual property. As a consumer myself, I strive to ensure SuttCo maximizes user privacy… which is why I am pleased to announce a radical change to the licensing model we use.

Some background information

When you open a purchased app for the first time, the Android Market generates and stores a license for the specific device (assuming it’s not a pirated copy). Unless we tell the Market something unique about the device (e.g. a serial number) all of the licenses would be identical! If the licenses are identical, there would be nothing stopping someone from pirating the app. So we scrambled your device’s serial number and used it to generate the license.

This troubled us, as the permission that gave us access to your serial number also granted us access to very sensitive information like your cellular carrier’s Subscriber ID, your phone number, and your SIM Card ID! Please be assured, we never used or viewed any of that sensitive information. But we did have access, and that’s a risk neither of us wants.

A Eureka Moment

While reading through the comments on a reddit thread, I had an epiphany. I went back to the drawing board this week and engineered a solution that allows me to satisfy the Android Market requirements, without using a single bit of your personal information. I no longer need to know your serial number, and have removed that permission from all apps that were using it.

I will be releasing the updates throughout the week as I complete my regression testing. The first update is already live in the Locale Call Filter Plugin.

As always, if you experience any problems or have any suggestions – please write us. 

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