Google Calculator is Watching You

Go to the Google store and look at their calculator carefully.

Under permissions for their calculator, we see this list:

  • view network connections
  • full network access
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • read Google service configuration
  • measure app storage space

Full network access? For a calculator?

Map of Google calculator network traffic flows

Unfortunately you can’t filter apps in the store by level of permission requested.

A simple filter could get rid of calculators that inexplicably demand full network access, let alone other strange levels (some require access to both local storage and removable storage). Imagine setting a preference in your profile that allows the most private apps to be ranked highest…

Calculators without network privileges do exist, which begs the question why Google’s gigantic security team lacks the ability to remove network access from an app that quite obviously has no need for it.

Here are a couple counter-examples:

Calculator Free

  • This app has access to: control vibration
  • That’s it

Caclulator E Plus

  • This application requires no special permissions to run.
  • That’s it