Meitu – the app with all the permissions

Why does a ‘make-over’ app require your location, private data and your phones IMEI number? Something’s not right.

Meitu, the ‘anime-makeover’ app is doing something that users perhaps didn’t realize they’d signed up to. It’s been found to be harvesting all sorts of data on users, including your location, reading, changing and deleting the data in your phone’s memory, access your IMEI number (unique identifiers for phones) and more.

This is somewhat concerning considering the app makers don’t tell you what they’re doing with the data. Are they using it for advertising purposes or for something else? The chances are it’s to do with adverts (as most things seem to be these days) but as users are kept in the dark regarding the purpose, it’s tough to say.

As ever, we always recommend to do your home works with apps like this: check to see if the app in question actually needs those permissions (for example: does a photo-sharing app require your location?)

“It’s all too easy, when installing a new app, to simply click through all the installation screens, including the one where it lists the permissions the app wants. But it’s unwise to do so: you should carefully check to make sure that an app isn’t asking for permissions that it doesn’t need to function. And even if it does ‘need’ it, don’t accept unless you’re comfortable with it accessing this function or data on your device: if you don’t think it needs to access something, don’t allow it!” says David Emm, a principal security researcher of Kaspersky Lab’s GReAT.

Also remember that you can control app permissions in later versions of Android using the settings menu.