I’m an Android fan. I’ve had an Android phone for the past 4 years, and I love it. I love that it’s open source and free software, and that’s it’s based off the Linux kernel. The customization it affords me is way more my style than what some other smartphone OSes do. Also, the Google Play Store does a great job of keeping my apps up to date auto-magically with little to no input from me. When it does so, I can trust that, if the app is from a “Trusted Developer” that it will live up to certain standards, random bugs aside. Also, that last sentence doesn’t look as good on paper as it did in my head. Anyways. It also incorporates a virus scanner, just in case, and requires the user’s input if an app is changing it’s permissions, i.e. can now do new things it couldn’t do previously.
Which brings me to the point of this whole conversation. Facebook. Bear with me, it’ll make sense in a bit.
Today I discovered, via The Consumerist, an article from liliputing.com. Facebook, in it’s infinite wisdom, is updating their Android app to bypass the Google Play Store and push future updates to you via WiFi. This is such crap. That whole level of quality and protection that the Play Store provides you? Completely and totally gone. Now apparently, even better than that, once you switch to the version of the Android Facebook app it’ll download an update for you. Once FB has the necessary files, it’ll notify you to install them. If you don’t install it, it’s going to pester you incessantly with notifications. Because nothing makes me want an app on my phone more than if it annoys the fuck out of me.
Now the immediate thing about this that caught my attention is the security issue at hand. If Facebook can push code onto my phone remotely, bypassing the Play Store, what’s to prevent a hacker from using this capability to push malicious code onto my (or your) phone? Yeah. So this means that i’m not going to be updating the Facebook app on my smartphone any time soon. In fact, I’m probably going to uninstall it altogether. No this won’t make a major change for Facebook in the grand scheme of things, but I hope that by educating all of you maybe we can.
And with that, I leave you this song, by a group I kinda sorta like some to most of their songs, but I’m fairly noncommittal about, The Kaiser Chiefs.