August 22, 2007 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Google wants to access the phone logs on my BlackBerry. Cancel or allow?

I recently switched from the BlackBerry 7100 model to the 8800. On my old phone, the Gmail mobile application was sleek, fast and simplified my life. So, today I downloaded the same app to my new phone. Logged in, saw my Gmail, sent a couple of messages, all was well.

About 10 minutes later, I got a pop-up alert that Gmail was trying to access my phone logs. The alert looked just like this one. I declined it, but have received the same alert periodically all morning. (Yes, I could just turn off the alert but that doesn't solve the problem.)

I read the Darren Albers post on the same topic, and also a similar post at the "official, unofficial BlackBerry blog" -- both of which basically say, "huh, this is freaky" but with no conclusion. Some guy named "Jason" is posting the same comment in several places:

"GMail is invoking Phone.getActiveCall(), which returns null when there is no call. It’s part of determining when there is likely to be a network connection."

...which could be legitimate... or it could also be corporate propaganda meant to quell the uprising (which looks like it might be working), or even just some weasel talking out his ass. Jason goes on to mention API, operating systems, and other stuff I don't really understand in the context of my phone.

Google doesn't seem to have anything to say on the subject (although someone did inquire at their groups site. No reply yet.). If they need to access something on my phone to make my mobile Gmail work, is that action covered by the EULA and privacy statements? Where is my guarantee that just because they need this to make Gmail work doesn't mean they get to aggregate my calling patterns in order to "provide a better user experience" or some such thing? Still, Google is already reading my email with my permission, so worrying about phone logs might be a case of locking the barn door.

If I'm going to trust strangers on the Internet, I'd rather it be y'all than "Jason." Does the explanation provided for the phone log access make sense, or is it one more way for Google to continue toward world domination? Should I continue crafting a tin foil bodysuit, complete with matching peep-toe pumps? Or can I just blithely use Gmail on my phone and forget about it?
posted by pineapple to Technology (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes, it is reasonable that they would need to craft workarounds for a network that has special connectivity (mobile). Your privacy needs are obviously important to you, but I think the possibility of call history scraping is much less private than your actual correspondence (which you've already willingly surrendered).

They may just want you to love gmail and aren't mining your phone records. Then again, they're rumored to be getting into the phone business and may find the data useful. This is the sort of thing that comes down to trust, because all the operations of a particular piece of software may never be known. If they've earned your trust, go ahead and open up your phone (and your heart). If they haven't, you probably don't want to be using gmail at all.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:57 AM on August 22, 2007

Could be a GrandCentral tie-in. Google bought them a couple of months ago, and it looks like they'll be doing some integration of it with all the other Google stuff.

You Google does.
posted by SlyBevel at 3:26 PM on August 22, 2007

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