1. space_traveler's Avatar
    Anyone know of any info of a planned or newly available firewall for the PB?

    I realize most peeps say you don't need a firewall for PB andall that, but I still think there is a need for one to prevent installed apps from accessing the net without my permission.

    Thanks for any info.
    03-21-12 06:53 AM
  2. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Anyone know of any info of a planned or newly available firewall for the PB?

    I realize most peeps say you don't need a firewall for PB andall that, but I still think there is a need for one to prevent installed apps from accessing the net without my permission.

    Thanks for any info.
    By default, PlayBook apps have access to the Internet. It is not currently possible for a third-party developer to build a firewall app because the required networking APIs do not exist. That's the bad news.

    On the other hand, neither is it is not possible to build an app that starts automatically or runs in the background without your knowledge. Nor is possible with current APIs, to build an app that accesses your private address book, passwords, browser cache or any other sensitive information. In addition, you must give explicit permission for an app to access files in PB's shared storage area so private files are off-limits unless you say otherwise.

    Conditions may change in the future but right now, there is not much that a firewall needs to protect you from. If you exercise reasonable caution with respect to side-loaded apps and apply the usual precautions while using the browser, you will be reasonably safe.
    bbfan1040 and space_traveler like this.
    03-21-12 08:21 AM
  3. space_traveler's Avatar
    @ BuzzStarField

    Thanks for the info. So, if I do allow an app access to my files, which you have to do in some cases for the app to function properly, it could in theory anyway, access the net without my knowledge and send out info if I should start or use the app while I'm online with the PB?

    Also, call me paranoid, but I still prefer NO apps to be able to access the net without my permission, and by that I mean any app reporting when I'm online, or even when I should start or use said app on my PB etc...

    I consider ANY app accessing the net for any reason that I'm not fully aware of an invasion of my privacy. I'll probably end up selling my PB if this is not fixed.
    03-21-12 10:27 AM
  4. space_traveler's Avatar
    You know what would be really good to know would be a list of what apps are accessing the net and when and what they do. I'll bet even native preinstalled apps access the net every time you start them when your online, right?

    The question is what kind of data do they send (e.g. how many times the app was run, only when the app is started, etc..)? Or can they send more info, if they are allowed to access your files, I wonder.

    As I said, I feel any app reporting any info without my full consent is an invasion of privacy, and I would like to know what each app does and when, if possible - even if I can't stop them from doing it.
    03-21-12 11:03 AM
  5. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    @ BuzzStarField

    Thanks for the info. So, if I do allow an app access to my files, which you have to do in some cases for the app to function properly, it could in theory anyway, access the net without my knowledge and send out info if I should start or use the app while I'm online with the PB?

    Also, call me paranoid, but I still prefer NO apps to be able to access the net without my permission, and by that I mean any app reporting when I'm online, or even when I should start or use said app on my PB etc...

    I consider ANY app accessing the net for any reason that I'm not fully aware of an invasion of my privacy. I'll probably end up selling my PB if this is not fixed.
    I would recommend that you should always base your decision about using an app or a device on your own tolerance to potential risk. You should always balance the potential risk versus the level of trust that you have in the app's developer. I would never recommend that you use an app that you are not comfortable with.

    If a developer is doing his job properly, he will advise you in the app's description and also in the in-app help screens why net access is required. As an example, I couldn't very well offer access to Wikipedia articles from my app, if you didn't give me permission to connect to the Wikipedia website via a hyperlink. I also need to connect to the internet in order to access a geocoding service should you want to change your postal code into a latitude and longitude. I make sure to tell you why and how I am using your personal info (i.e. your postal code).

    I agree that it would be intolerable if I connected to some other site without telling you that I was doing so. I am not about to risk my privilege of submitting apps to app world by ignoring your need for privacy. Having said that, you need to trust me. If you don't then you should not use my app. After all, I could tell you one thing and and actually do another. I wouldn't do it because I am a good citizen, but I COULD. I don't know how a a firewall would protect you if I were a bad actor (which I stress, I am not).

    I you want to wait for a fire wall, then you should do just that. The bottom line is it's up to you how you use a device or an app. However, I would point out that I am not aware that either iOS or Android devices would be able to address your particular objections.
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 03-21-12 at 11:38 AM.
    space_traveler likes this.
    03-21-12 11:27 AM
  6. space_traveler's Avatar
    Thanks for the further info BuzzStarField.

    What is perhaps the most surprising to me is how no one seems to even care about these issues. It's like people could just care less about their privacy. You would think no one even used a computer and never learned about these issues already.
    03-21-12 06:47 PM
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