back to article Rogue Android apps rack up hidden charges

Applications installed on an Android handset are capable of automatically switching on data connectivity, and roaming, so their owners run up huge data charges. Several US users have complained of unexpected data charges being run up on their G1 handsets, and Engadget reports that T-Mobile has put out a statement clarifying …


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  1. Robert Oakes
    Jobs Halo

    Smug iPhone Owner........

    And people have the audacity to complain that Apple vets each app before it is allowed on the app store. At least i can relax in the knowledge that my phone wont run up massive data charges!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Oh lordy, ha ha ha

    The 'solution' provided by the 'what's needed' comment is complete bollocks frankly.

    No app should be allowed to cost you money without you not knowing, home network or not.

    Epic failure, rattlement and exposure.

  3. James O'Brien

    Let me be the first to say

    My iPhone wouldnt do that as Apple has a stranglehold on the market and it turns water into wine.

    /No I dont have an iPhone

  4. Anonymous Coward

    In Today's Lesson, We Learn...

    ...exactly why Apple has been so scroogish with their application dev.

    I'll bet there are some REAL NASTY Android apps waiting in the shadows, with brickbats.

  5. Chris Beach

    Not the apps at fault

    Not really the apps at fault is it?

    Android, being basically unfinished, added an option that doesn't work properly.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The real problem here is...

    ...the carriers are still fleecing people for data charges.

    With the advent of the iPhone and Android (and all the other 'smartphones around') it's about time the carriers - who punt mobile internet connectivity as if it's a right not a privilege - started making the charging structure so people can just us it without running up large bills.

    It's not fair to blame the app developers, nor the platform. If a platform comes out which offers GPS, web connectivity, etc., etc then why not use it? Complaining that it's the app devs fault is a bit like somebody complaining when they installed vista without having broadband and then had to pay for 3 weeks' of constant dial-up connection costs because it had to download 300MB of updates.

  7. Alex

    molested by a robot!!

    behold the googlebeast has ticks, leaches and oh? FAIL!!!! :D

    (and to retain impartiality: hahaha AppleBoi's why doesn't your jesusphone let you cut and paste? hahaha FAIL!)

  8. Ascylto

    Er ....


    (Collective response of Apple Fanbois, of which I'm one!)

  9. Matt Bradley
    Paris Hilton

    @Oh lordy

    Regards the solution: Most people have home wifi that doesn't cost anything to use (other than the monthly broadband cost). I guess yours charges for bandwidth?

  10. Allan Rutland


    Guess it all goes back to the old issue of how unlimited, is unlimited!

  11. jai
    Jobs Halo

    <--- another smug iphone owner

    there were so many El Reg readers last year saying how horrific it was that Apple were locking down the apps on the iPhone and how it was a human rights violations and all sorts and how Android would show the world the way

    funny how none of them have commented on this story to explain why it's still such a good idea to allow apps on the device this kind of control

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How strange. Windows Mobile doesn't have an App Store, and I've never had an app initiate a shady data connection wtihout telling me.

  13. Jon Brunson

    I blame the users

    It warns you before you download any app what it can do on your phone (even pathetic stuff like "disable sleep mode"), if you accept that the app you're downloading can connect when it wants, then it's your own fault!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @How Strange

    I've had a Windows app initiate a data connection without notifying me. That's because I wanted an app that would do that. I'd be a bit miffed if I'd bought an iPhone and found that an app which needed to instantiate a connection (e.g., an RSS aggregator) couldn't do so because of some dumb limitation of the OS.

    Although the iPhone circumvents the 'shady background apps initiating a connection' by not allowing any apps to run in the background. D'oh.

  15. Sureo
    Dead Vulture

    not every user reads the small print....

    If I actually read the agreements of all the software I've ever downloaded/installed, I'd be sitting here reading with a backlog of about 2 years to go.

    A tombstone 'cause that's where I'll be by the time I've read them all.

  16. James
    Thumb Down

    @Matt Bradley

    That's really great Matt, don't take your *mobile* phone out of range of your home WiFi in case you get raped by roaming charges. Awesome

  17. Don


    It is true that an app can send network data on its own if you grant it permissions for that. But there is a setting which disables data when roaming:

    Settings -> Wireless Controls -> Mobile networks -> Data roaming - Connect to data services when roaming.

    This is enabled by default but can be turned off. I wonder if apps are overriding this as well or if unchecking this would solve the problem. It seems like it would be better to have this setting disabled by default to prevent this sort of thing and to not let applications override it. So I suspect a work-around would be to simply uncheck this setting.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Not having looked at android yet I'm not sure how configurable the connections are but surely this should be easy for anyone with even minimal tech skills.

    Simply set up any WIFI connections with your preferred encryption and passwords etc and then set any network data (GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA etc) connections to request a password.

    When I'm anywhere that I have "unlimited" access, data works no problems, If i'm out and want to go online, the phone wont connect unless I switch the password option off on the connection I want to use.

    none of the network defined connections actually require a password but forcing the phone to ask for one prevents it from inadvertantly connecting and me having to explain high data charges to my boss - takes a few seconds to change the setting

    mines the one with the large pocket for the rediculous N61 calulator lookalike that work requires i carry around...

  19. RogueElement
    Paris Hilton

    smug mobile user

    doesn't use apps... saving £hundreds.

    I have a camera for taking pictures, a piece of paper for taking notes and I install programs on a computer which has reasonable security. The phone I use just as a phone. Oh, and these rogue apps were nothing to do with me.

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