No, we wouldn’t think about telling you which way to vote – but some political convention mobile applications could be harmful. We have warned you in the past about the potentially malicious applications that can be attracted to your device or gadget post-installion of some of these “apps”. What is surprising is that some major news sources have reported on these without informing their readers of the drawbacks to some of these apps. These mentions have come from CNN/Time and CBS News. However, not all apps need be harmful.
You don’t need the CNN/Forbes/Time Convention Floor Pass app to check for updates on the GOP Convention. You may access it directly with the following link: http://floorpass.time.com/. However, the Google Play app has a warning you might wish to heed in the Permissions tab: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.floorpass.android&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5mbG9vcnBhc3MuYW5kcm9pZCJdm.
The first warning regards unwanted phone calls (“billed to your phone”, by the way): “Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. An app with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and the like“.
A further warning appears under the “Data” section: “Allows apps to accept cloud to device messages sent by the app’s service. Using this service will incur data usage. Malicious apps could cause excess data usage” (italics ours). Plus, the app won’t allow your phone to go into sleep mode.
Will the iTunes version of the Floor Pass app have the same issues? We don’t know but it does have some good reviews. The iTunes POLITICO app gets hammered, however, in the comments section. Concerns seem to be related to its updates, “bugginess” and ads, ads, ads…
For similar Google Play Permissions warnings, we can’t recommend the Re-Con (National Journal) app, the Election Game 2012 app, the Obama v. Romney 12 app or even the highly rated My Tampa 2012 app. What about iTunes versions of these last few apps? We searched but could not find them. And what about Windows phone apps for the same? We searched (more than once) for those but without luck.
Are any of these GOP Convention mobile apps safe to use on your pad or tablet? They can create excessive data usage so caveat emptor. Unfortunately, the universe of apps cannot be covered in this single post.