There is a Android application Threema for communication encryption and that says it does not collect user data, but it requires the following permissions: identity, contacts and device ID.

Can this application be considered really secure?

  • Depends on what you're looking for in security. Can you be specific in what data you're concerned about?
    – RoraΖ
    Aug 11, 2015 at 13:00
  • Providing the identity and contacts from the phone for a normal person wouldn't be necessary a issue but for a journalist or activist I think it would be a concern.
    – Mihai
    Aug 11, 2015 at 13:16
  • I believe you answered your own question. If there is a risk related to sharing your contacts and you want to avoid that risk the option of not using that app is very attractive
    – Purefan
    Aug 11, 2015 at 13:26

2 Answers 2


Android Permissions are a tricky subject - there are a range of reasons why an App might require some fishy sounding permission to private data:

  1. Intent to steal you data and use it for advertsising or selling it
  2. Lazy coding / incompetent coding ( I'm not sure what exactly we need, so let's just get this general permission to all files )
  3. Bad Android Design - somtimes a strange permission like camera is needed to activate the flashlight, or track phone calls which sounds like someone is listening to your private conversations, but is actually needed to pause a music player when you receive a call (This varies with many android versions)
  4. Actual use-case for some functionality in the app. Maybe the app features some functionality which actually needs this permission even if you don't use this functionality / don't know about it. A messenger could let you share contact details in chat and only require access for this.

What to do?

Best Case: You should only use apps where you trust the Publisher. And you could use a System like CyanogenMod which has integrated control - so you can decide to block any app from accessing your contacts, or decide to show a confirmation dialog each time it wants to access certain private data.

The preview for Android M also sounds like a fine grained permission control might be a standard-feature in upcoming releases...


No, such features under mobile OSs today, do not unambiguously separate between 'privacy-leaks' and 'basic needs' — and that operating system developers are partly to blame.

Details on this have been provided by other answerers, but this awareness was even reinforced in the question text.

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