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TOPIC: Why does the Android app ask for precise location?

 
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October 2, 2012 12:47 PM
I understand using "coarse location" for ads. But why on earth would the app need precise GPS location?

You don't need to know where I am with ~3 feet of accuracy. Taking this permission down to coarse/approximate location in a future update would be very much appreciated.
October 3, 2012 10:15 AM
Bump. Folks on the blog are asking this too. (Note: I understand location permissions are for the ads, but that doesn't require GPS precision, just coarse/approximate location. However, the app permissions are requesting GPS location.)

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/mike/view/new-android-update-version-2-4-reminders-and-notifications-428748#comments

n_y_b wrote 2 days ago:
Why does it now need location data?

TourThePast wrote 1 day ago:
Why do you need to know EXACTLY where I am? Not just my rough location from the telephone network, though I'm not happy about that either, but this upgrade would mean that every time I log in you get my fine location with GPS. An explanation is definitely needed!

steveinct wrote 39 minutes ago:
It has been asked several times, yet the MFP staff is not answering the simple question: Why do you need our location via GPS? Your silence on this issue is causing me to second guess allowing your application to stay on my phone. Please let us know why you need this permission.
Edited by craywolf On October 3, 2012 10:17 AM
October 3, 2012 10:34 AM
I thought I read on the blog (some time ago) that one of the planned features was going to be exercise tracking???
This would need GPS access to track runs, hikes, bike rides.....

Like you, I would like a direct answer from them on it.
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October 3, 2012 10:35 AM
QUOTE:

I thought I read on the blog (some time ago) that one of the planned features was going to be exercise tracking???
This would need GPS access to track runs, hikes, bike rides.....

Like you, I would like a direct answer from them on it.


If that's the reason why, then it's an awesome feature and I'm all for it! But let us know...
October 3, 2012 1:34 PM
There is no exercise tracking on this website, or on the update.

Right now there is an update out there which I'd like to install, but I'm absolutely not doing so without a very good reason for this website knowing my precise GPS location down to a few meters, and knowing exactly what controls they have to protect this sensitive data.

I'm not just being awkward, there are genuine security issues for me, when travelling in certain parts of the world, with certain people, none of which I'm prepared to post on an open forum or which should be necessary to reveal.

The point is, I cannot see any reason for this intrusive and battery draining permission.

In the continued absence of an explanation despite repeated requests, I can only surmise it is either an embarrassing error of judgement or that there is something more going on here than we've been made aware of.
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October 3, 2012 1:35 PM
its big brother .... only exercise with your foil hat on
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October 3, 2012 1:40 PM
Can't kidnap and steal someone's organs if you don't know where they are.
October 4, 2012 3:36 PM
Bump - explanation would be very much appreciated.
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October 4, 2012 3:39 PM
98% of every app i use asks for location permissions
  3524478
October 4, 2012 3:43 PM
or you can just click the FAQ in the app and read for yourself why ......
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October 4, 2012 3:46 PM
^^^^ THIS. Its all about the money.
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October 4, 2012 3:50 PM
Fine by me. I'm getting a heck of a lot of benefit from this site and not paying one red cent for it. I can put up with the ads that keep it going.
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October 4, 2012 3:55 PM
This is part of the price for a free application. Servers and services and salaries have to be paid somehow.

Perhaps a paid app is in the works that that can disable the portions you don't want or need. Until then you should click some of the ads that pay the bills and keep the place free!
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October 4, 2012 4:01 PM
Dear FATBOYPUP - thank you for you helpful post. However the information supplied does not answer my query.

Rough location data can be collected from cellphone masts. This is common to many apps and while I don't like the fact that people can find out when I'm away from home and therefore my house is empty and able to be burgled, I can understand the need for it on a free site.

THIS question however is about FINE location data, i.e. logging your location to within a few meters using GPS.

That is an entirely different matter.

How would you react if, every time you logged into an app, a complete stranger immediately phoned you and demanded that you tell them the exact address you are at? Would you tell them? I certainly wouldn't!
Edited by TourThePast On October 4, 2012 4:04 PM
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October 4, 2012 4:03 PM
QUOTE:

Rough location data can be collected from cellphone masts. This is common to many apps and while I don't like the fact that people can find out when I'm away from home and therefore my house is empty and able to be burgled, I can understand the need for it on a free site.

THIS question however is about FINE location data, i.e. logging your location to within a few meters using GPS.

That is an entirely different matter.

How would you react if, every time you logged into an app, a complete stranger immediately phoned you and demanded that you tell them the exact address you are at? Would you tell them? I certainly wouldn't!


dont use it ....... ive been using it everyday for 2 years and i still feel safe
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October 4, 2012 4:04 PM
hell i check in on facebook or yelp wherever im at anyways i like people to know where I am
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October 4, 2012 4:06 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Rough location data can be collected from cellphone masts. This is common to many apps and while I don't like the fact that people can find out when I'm away from home and therefore my house is empty and able to be burgled, I can understand the need for it on a free site.

THIS question however is about FINE location data, i.e. logging your location to within a few meters using GPS.

That is an entirely different matter.

How would you react if, every time you logged into an app, a complete stranger immediately phoned you and demanded that you tell them the exact address you are at? Would you tell them? I certainly wouldn't!


dont use it ....... ive been using it everyday for 2 years and i still feel safe
You have not been using it every day for two years, this update containing the requirement for FINE GPS location has only been live for a matter of days.

And while you check in on facebook, and are happy to let people know where you are, you may travel to different places than I do and have different security issues to deal with. Remember this is an international site and not everyone has the same issues.
  6288475
October 4, 2012 4:11 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Rough location data can be collected from cellphone masts. This is common to many apps and while I don't like the fact that people can find out when I'm away from home and therefore my house is empty and able to be burgled, I can understand the need for it on a free site.

THIS question however is about FINE location data, i.e. logging your location to within a few meters using GPS.

That is an entirely different matter.

How would you react if, every time you logged into an app, a complete stranger immediately phoned you and demanded that you tell them the exact address you are at? Would you tell them? I certainly wouldn't!


dont use it ....... ive been using it everyday for 2 years and i still feel safe
You have not been using it every day for two years, this update containing the requirement for FINE GPS location has only been live for a matter of days.

And while you check in on facebook, and are happy to let people know where you are, you may travel to different places than I do and have different security issues to deal with. Remember this is an international site and not everyone has the same issues.


*shrug* I guess we'll miss you then .......
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October 4, 2012 4:32 PM
QUOTE:
*shrug* I guess we'll miss you then .......
I'm not going anywhere, I'm not threatening to leave the site, which I find extremely useful and by far the best of its type and as far as I recall, nor is anyone else who has asked this question.

To clarify, this topic is about why the latest android update includes specifically FINE location to the nearest few meters.

The existing android app, which does not have this requirement is still fully functional, as is the website.

This thread was started in the hope that we'd get an answer as to why FINE GPS is a necessary permission to anyone UPGRADING to the latest version of the app.
Edited by TourThePast On October 4, 2012 4:33 PM
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October 5, 2012 6:36 AM
QUOTE:

*shrug* I guess we'll miss you then .......


What a rude and unhelpful post. Nobody is threatening to leave. Your "thinking cap" post is quite rude too, considering this is right at the top:

QUOTE:

(Note: I understand location permissions are for the ads, but that doesn't require GPS precision, just coarse/approximate location. However, the app permissions are requesting GPS location.)


MFP did not previously require this permission. This permission is not required for the ad network (they are all fine with approximate location, versus precise location). So what is it for? That's a perfectly reasonable question to be asking.

Next time, please put your own thinking cap on before suggesting it to others.
October 7, 2012 4:19 PM
I look at it like this.... I Keep my GPS turned OFF for battery saving. I ONLY turn the GPS on when I need to use it. If the GPS is off, it can't access the info. At the most, it will ask you to turn it on and you can ignore it. (So far, I've yet to see this prompt).

The ONLY apps that can activate the GPS for data when you have it turned off is Google Maps. Even "My Tracks" (By Google) prompts you to turn it on manually.

So, I really don't care if they want my GPS info or not. My GPS is off, so the permissions mean nothing to me.

I'll go back to what I said in my first post. I remember reading that they were GOING TO add exercise tracking features IN THE FUTURE. I am well aware those features are not in this build. It's possible that one of the developers jumped the gun on something. Again, that's speculation.

But, as for privacy on your location, anyone that's that worried about it needs to just take the battery out of your phone and never use another cell phone as long as you live. And, while you are at it, delete your Facebook/Twitter/Flicker/FourSquare accounts and any other social networking account. Every major carrier is working on deals with ad companies that target you with ads based on places you visit, and where you are at that moment. It's bad enough they hammer us with high bills, they are going to make money off forcing ad's to us based on where we are. Walk into a TGI Fridays, get an add for a free appetizer.

EDIT- And, everyone I know that has to travel the world with security restrictions (Such as a friend that works as an aircraft mechanic for a private security firm that transports VIPs around the globe) are only allowed to use company owned devices and can't do anything personal (Like use MFP) on those devices.
Edited by WolfmanRobby On October 7, 2012 4:22 PM
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October 8, 2012 9:39 AM
Hi Folks,

Thanks very much for your feedback on the question of Location Permissions, and for drawing our attention to your concerns about the use of the "Fine Location" (GPS) permission in our most recent Android app update.

As it turns out, the Fine Location permission request is unnecessary for our goal of presenting more relevant ads to our Android users, and it was a mistake to request this level of precision in the app.

Our next Android app update will request only "Coarse Location" (Wi-Fi, Cell ID). We're sorry for any concern raised by the permission request in MyFitnessPal for Android version 2.4, and greatly appreciate your feedback on the matter.

Please let us know if there's anything else we can do to support you.

Steven
MyFitnessPal Staff
October 8, 2012 10:57 AM
QUOTE:

As it turns out, the Fine Location permission request is unnecessary for our goal of presenting more relevant ads to our Android users, and it was a mistake to request this level of precision in the app.


Thank you! I had a feeling this would be the case, but it's always nice to have a definitive answer. I very much appreciate your response.
October 10, 2012 5:10 AM
QUOTE:
As it turns out, the Fine Location permission request is unnecessary for our goal of presenting more relevant ads to our Android users, and it was a mistake to request this level of precision in the app.
Thanks Steven, I could not think of any valid reason for MFP requesting Fine Location, and I thoroughly appreciate your addressing my concern.

I'm now looking forward to the next update so I'll be able to take advantage of all the shiny new toys on the android app. smile
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