When Two Worlds Collide


TL:DR Vodafone social team handed out really bad/misleading advice without consulting their app development team. https://twitter.com/ryancormack/status/250555104141393921

On the 25/9/12 I received a (spammy) text from Vodafone asking me to install their mobile app (don’t install it, their permission requirements border on stalking) so I can keep track of my monthly spend for my mobile contract. I had used this app a while ago, it was functional, simple to use and showed me all I needed to know, albeit with a bit of a time delay. The reason I stopped using it is because it requested permission to “intercept outgoing calls and launch on boot” This is not something I want an app to be doing. It could be very malicious and should in no way be required by an app that lets you know how many minutes you have left. The old app didn’t have this permission, so why should the new one?!

Slightly annoyed that the app needed this permission, and that I had just been spammed by Vodafone asking for me to install this app, I tweeted them;

I was hoping to get a nice reply letting me know exactly what it was that the app was going to be dong with that permission, but no, I received a tweet back asking if I was sure it was the My Vodafone app! I let them know that it was definitely their app and that that permission has a lot of scope for being used in a malicious way. A few hours later, and to my disbelief I received a reply back that clearly demonstrated a lack of communication between the social/marketing department and the development department.


The marketing department should never comment on a subject that they do not know about. I can asure you that in order for the app to be updated over the network you only have to untick the box “Update over Wi-Fi only” from the play store settings. I have my apps updating over Wi-Fi only due to the pretty poor data allowance I get from Vodafone. That is all that is required to have an app update over the network. You do not need to have it intercepting phone calls, Vodafone!

I am not sure what I would rather believe; That the development team actually said this to the marketing team, or that the marketing team are now officially allowed to comment on app development rules and standards that Vodafone have to the extent of just blatantly lying to the end user. I suspect that the marketing team did not ask the development team what this actually meant and tried to answer the question themselves without actually knowing what it meant.

Moral of the story, what ever your professional field is, if you are questioned about something out with your field, ask for help. Don’t lie, guess, make up [insert other potentially embarrassing word] to try and answer the question.

Vodafone, I am disappoint.