Android app using location when app isn't open

Diamond187Diamond187 Member Posts: 4
First Comment

Long time fing user, but noticed this year my app started using the location permission, even after a fresh reboot when the app hasn't even been launched.


Why does this occur? How do I prevent it? I understand that fing needs location permission as Google considers this coarse location data these days, and I'd expect it to use this when I actively scan; however, when I haven't launched the app or its just in the background, I can't think of any reason aside from advertiser metrics that this is needed. Please enlighten me, or if it is just for ads, please allow us to turn it off. And no, if it comes down to a monthly subscription vs location - the answer is I'll move apps. A one time purchase is acceptable, but monthly not so much as the value proposition isn't there for me.

Answers

  • vulcansheartvulcansheart Member, Beta Tester Posts: 117
    100 Comments 25 Awesomes 5 Answers 25 Likes
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    @Ciaran , Could you help us get a technical answer as to why location services run in the background for the Android Fing App?
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  • marco_from_fingmarco_from_fing Administrator, Fing Team Posts: 56
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    Hi @Diamond187
    It's correct that Google now requires coarse location, and we also use tools like Google Firebase that are grouped under "third party statistics" that are used to understand how many users open the App, report crashes more accurately and so on. A few of these services are restarted at boot or at package update by design.

    To answer your question, disabling in App Settings | Privacy Settings | Third party analytics should solve your issue: some of the services would not run; although we may lose part of the ability to provide a better support in case of problems and crashes by disabling sending anonymised data, we understand the need and you change the preferences. This is part of your privacy's rights and not connected with any purchase.
    That said, Fing also includes many SDK that are now mandatory for some features, e.g Google Sign-in and Facebook Sign-in SDK,  to allow social sign-in with third parties, Google AdMob to deliver ads; we keep up with latest versions and check from regularly if there are unexpected usages of data from third party code.  

    As a final note on the subject of background/at boot service: how would you feel for a new feature which would attempt to run scans automatically and report deviation, as a lightweight monitoring system? We had several requests in the past, and we are studying the multiple limitations that Android and iOS place in running tasks in the background. That would allow to run a lightweight monitoring, but knowing which WiFi would in that case require the location permissions.

  • Diamond187Diamond187 Member Posts: 4
    First Comment

    Marco,


    Thank you for taking the time to explain some of this activity, I appreciate it. As to the new feature; that would be an enticing feature for my use case, as I would suspect it would be for many others. A toggle to enable/disable would be greatly appreciated.

    As to my original question, I'm not as concerned about fing running at startup as I understand the android framework really gives the user too little choice in this (your app is simply using it, it would be up to Google to allow users to choose without root). What my initial concern was centers on the fact I'll be going about my day and fing will be tracking my location (which most other apps besides a life 360 or Facebook do not). For example, I'll reboot my phone in the morning and never open fing. I'll do some errands, and while I'm ficticiously in Walmart shopping for groceries, I'll get a notification from permissions monitor that fing is using the location permission. That fictitious example happens almost daily for me, and fing shouldn't be tracking my location for any relavent reason, which leads me to question if your revenue model includes selling user analytics and locational data. Should you choose to do this, it's your choice; however, for me it's creepy and I'll choose to move to a new app that doesn't do this. I'd hardly call myself paranoid, but the monetizing of location is getting far out of hand in a much bigger space than just fing. :)

  • marco_from_fingmarco_from_fing Administrator, Fing Team Posts: 56
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    Thanks @Diamond187
    Let me know if the existing settings at Fing's Account and Settings (Gearwheel icon on the toolbar) -> App Settings -> Privacy Settings -> Third party analytics makes the prompt on the permission manager disappear. If not, we'll look into it. Should you have also specific sensitive data (e.g a screenshot with location from the phone's permission monitor), you can also DM me and we can fast track you to beta versions, in case the existing setting is not working.
  • Diamond187Diamond187 Member Posts: 4
    First Comment

    I will. I've made the change you suggested and will give it a few days to bake to see if it continues. Thanks for the prompt reply and taking your time to help!

  • Diamond187Diamond187 Member Posts: 4
    First Comment


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