I refuse to sign up for Viber, here’s why.

Update: Viber and all data sold to Japanese company.

Update: Over the past couple of months Viber has been modifying their privacy policy to help increase user confidence. However, unlike other apps, which only scan your contacts. Viber continues to scan and also save your contacts’ phone numbers from your address book on their servers. Its up to each user if this is ok or not. Keep tabs on the ever changing privacy policy.

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Recently, I became aware of Viber only because my wife used it to talk to her sister and on her smartphone it showed me already listed as a Viber user. I was like, “what?!” How is that possible and we tried calling my listed Viber contact to see what if anything would ring. Obviously, nothing rang. I even checked Google Play on my Android (it has a very handy list of ALL apps ever installed on your Android) and Viber was no where to be found! So my question, where & how did they get “my” contact info and why am I listed as a “Viber” when I’ve never even heard of the app!?

To investigate I installed it today and within a few seconds I discovered a lot of alarming stuff about how they gather everyone’s contact info and I do mean everyone. When you first install Viber on your iPhone or Android it will prompt you to allow access your address book, if allowed Viber not only saves your phone number and details but they ALSO saves the phone numbers and contact info of all your contacts! This is without the knowledge of those on your contact list. Legal? Well for one thing the Israeli founded company is registered in Cyprus, where a lot of online gambling companies register.

Here’s a screenshot of what you are prompted with on first install…

Screenshot_2013-01-02-12-11-18

I clicked “Don’t Allow” and then it prompted this…

Screenshot_2013-01-02-12-11-27

When you click “Ok” it returns you back to the previous screen which is giving you a choice of “don’t allow” that they won’t accept! So to install this app you MUST allow them to save your entire address book contacts on their servers.

Have a look at their privacy policy here: http://viber.com/privacypolicy.html.

“When you install the Viber App and register on the Site, you will be asked to provide us with your phone number and to allow us access to your mobile device’s address book (collectively, “Personal Information”). A copy of the phone numbers and names in your address book (but not emails, notes or any other personal information in your address book) will be stored on our servers…”

It continues with a short list of em… what they admit to doing with all your info (and the info of friends and family) that you’ve allowed them access to. I think they need to add a lot more detailed info on what is being done with everyone’s contact info!

So l closed the app then opened again to see if it would still ask for my address book info.  For about 1 second it said something like… syncing address book, then the same message pops up asking me if to allow or deny access. My hope is this is just a matter of them asking permission before the sync and that they are not grabbing info without my permission.

The sad thing is that even though I never fall for things like this weather it be smartphone apps, phishing emails, spyware, spam and other cons on the internet… they ALREADY have my contact info saved on their servers! All it takes is anyone who has you added in their phone address book who uses Viber and just like that your info is stored on their servers WITHOUT your consent!

Also read: Your Apps Are Watching You by The Wall Street Journal

I refuse to sign up for Viber, here’s why. was last modified: July 19th, 2014 by Hayden James

I refuse to sign up for Viber, here’s why.

50 Responses

  1. i bought a new sim card just few days back and my phone has only 2 contacts as i ran out of credit this morning i decided to give viber a go, immediately after signing up i received a missed call from someone i dont even know, i uninstalled it straight away as im worried about my privacy (viber sounds to good to be true).

    miss capri March 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm #
    • It’s a disgrace; we need to take back control of our privacy. This is something I’d expect the Government to do, i.e. legislate to protect consumer’s privacy & Constitutional rights, but given we now know they’re probably the worst offenders, that’s unlikely. Bye-bye Constitution, Hello Big Brother! And before you say I’m over reacting, educate yourself, look at what the Stasi did to people in East Germany who had ‘nothing to hide’

      Dave October 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm #
  2. I feel that your reaction is a bit extreme. This had been a source of concern since app launch but no one i know has had their data compromised. I have 3 various unlocked/jailbroken (rooted in androidspeak) iOS devices and non of the devices have had anything accessed other than the phone contacts. While you may feel it’s fishing. The only thing that happens is when of your contacts does add the app, you get a notification. I’ve been using viber as a softphone for 1 year now and the sound quality is fantastic. So much so, i’ve dumped my carrier completely and make all my calls Voip. Incidentally, if you’re that concerened about breaches, perhaps you should not even consider using any time of GSM type device as it has been proven by 3 researchers, your data while “encrypted” voice, text, et al, is not truly secure. The last 10 digits of the bit encryption keys have been shown to be zeroes and easily hackable. In addition, all texts remain on phone even if “deleted”. Unless phone is consistently and completely wiped each time you delete anything. It’s still quite available if the need should arise for recovery. The founder of Viber blogged about what the data harvest is used for. I’ve not been phished, spammed, emailed, or even cailed by odd numbers. In fact, the biggest worry you should have is facebook and all it’s various guises of “apps” . An article dated today April 3 2013 about the upcoming facebook phone, stated it’s a device to promote user engagement and optimize monetization.. (translated, suck more of your time while costing you more, whether it’s ad supported revenue or time wasting).

    In short, i find Viber, invaluable. I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friends in Germany or elsewhere in the states with such Clarity.

    To each their own.

    And so you don’t presume me to be some iSheep, i am presently composing this email within a Linux Mint/Cinammon environment on an ultraportable using an 8gb hard drive and 2gb ram where the entire OS is PE within the ram. I mention this because while i am technically savvy and not a typical “end user” i’ve found nothing that would warrant any sinister concerns with viber

    greg April 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm #
  3. good for exposing this info. we should all really read into the fine print a little more in life. at the same time viber is a really good app and worth using still imo.

    ru April 12, 2013 at 11:21 am #
  4. Thanks for the comments all. Note, this is only my personal opinion based on my privacy and transparency expectations. If in future versions Viber allows users to install and try the service first, without being forced to accept sharing the contact info of everyone in their address book, I’d be more than willing to try what is probably a good service, based on general user consensus.

    @hydnj April 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm #
  5. Well, the only thing viber adds to any service like Google talk (which is really well integrated on Android smartphones) or skype, is that it uses the phone numbers that they store as contact IDs.
    I don’t see why one would use a closed application, using a protocol controlled made by an unscrupulous company when they are already excellent well-integrated services, respectful of your privacy, open and compatible with a lot of other instant messaging systems, that almost everybody got already installed by default on their smartphone.
    Really, people telling you that you should use viber are victims of the fashion/network effect.

    nimai May 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm #
  6. Android phones have an embedded SIP client. So do many Nokia phones. And there are excelent SIP apps around, like Linphone, that work with free SIP providers (including Linphone..org) or premium ones which offer phone numbers and VoIP connectivity to the POTS (plain old telephone system) starting from $1/month, like voip.ms. I rather use them than some obscure outfit that admit not having started monetizing its user base yet; or the current incumbed that used to be such an outfit (Skype) until it was sold to corporate interests and later changed hands from eBay to the dinosaur on the way of extinction in the tech world.

    SIP is an open standard and everybody can be their own provider. It is a federated service and you are not bound to any single provider. You can seamlessly use a SIP address (looks very much like an email address) or an assigned national phone number. Since modern nations have implemented number portability, you can move away from service providers turned bad and that is sufficient to ensure competition. Viber, Skype, Facebook all create walled garden. I don’t want to be walled, captive to the corporate interestes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or Viber. If you are using one of these services and want to communicate freely, tell them to implement SIP. Then you can be happy using your favorite provider and I can be happy using my favorite provider and both of them behave because their users can move their phone number to another provider.

    YL May 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm #
  7. Viber is useful and benign. Of course it knows the Phone #. It uses your #..of course it reads ur phone book, how else will it connect and see if someone else uses viber. All in all its free.

    max June 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm #
    • Seems you didn’t read what I wrote or even read the Viber privacy policy. No one has an issue with services like this READING the phone number or contacts of the person downloading the app. The issue is unlike similar apps, why does Viber need to STORE ALL the numbers/info of your contacts on their servers. If I’ve never downloaded Viber then why should “my” info be stored by them? Where is the opt out option for those in the user’s address book?!

      You make for a good example though of how they are able to “collect” so many numbers of people who never even heard of the app!

      @hydnj June 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm #
  8. @max: There’s no such thing as free. There’s also one born every minute.

    P.T. Barnum June 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm #
  9. Every few weeks, I get a Viber-generated spam text message from a friend of mine, “Hey I started using Viber. It’s a cool free app that lets you call and text for free! http://www.viber.com/dl

    She has an iPhone, never installed Viber to her knowledge, and I have an Android phone.

    Only use Viber if you’re OK with installing an app which will hijack your text messaging so it can spam text everybody in your phonebook. That means personal AND professional contacts. If you’re OK with that, then you’re irresponsible, run up other people’s phone, etc. Oh yeah, Viber sends these spam texts in the middle of the night, thanks for waking me up.

    Landry Dennis July 5, 2013 at 8:23 am #
  10. Based on your reaction, presumably like me, you’ve disabled the syncing of contacts from your phone to Google’s servers. I don’t see a blog entry about it though. :)

    Crazy Chris July 22, 2013 at 11:29 am #
  11. They store names and phones on their servers, so you have the same contact list on every device (there is Viber on PC and Mac too). Also, if you change your phone, you will still have your info. Actually they even store history of messages on server.
    Phone numbers, names, message history. That’s serious, isn’t it? Well, people have all of their life stored on Facebook servers. No big deal.
    I use Viber for a year, no spam, no hijacking. They only sent me a message once from “Viber” contact to say “Merry Christmas”. May be I’m doing something wrong?
    Also, there is a function in Viber to show your entire contact list or only those who also use Viber. As you can call not only to Viber users but also to phone numbers, that makes perfect sense.

    Quete July 28, 2013 at 9:33 am #
  12. I just got an unsolicited text message telling me my viber code etc. I never contacted them for a code or the app. Why have they used data from another persons phone to contact me without their or my permission?

    In European countries the collection of data that is not for a purpose that is reported to the person they acquired it from is a data protection legislation offence. No one that I know uses viber so the number has come from someone that I know by virtue of the fact that their number is on someone’s phone who does not know me but uses viber.

    I wonder what viber would do to me if I hacked them with a pass or key code that someone had passed to a contact who then left it lying around for me or anyone else for that matter to see and use. I doubt that their response would be pleasant.

    By sending me this text as if I have asked for their app, by using data taken from another person; they are breaking the law. Their honesty, the perfect beauty of their software, and lack of bad motives or malice is neither here or there…… is it?

    Chris-G August 1, 2013 at 12:11 am #
    • Breaking the law in which country? Remember they are not registered as a US company. :) I feel your pain, how do we opt out and how did we opt in in the first place??

      @hydnj August 1, 2013 at 12:19 am #
  13. Hi Hayden,
    I am in the UK. Most of Europe has a version of the Data Protection Act 1998 (uk legislation). Many of the best laws from the 27 member companies are redesigned and translated into European Law or in addition they are “forced” on the other 26 members.

    Cyprus is within the EU. The European Union. As such, I would have thought that sanctions exist to prevent their actions around and about here. It is also the case that anyone enabling processing of data within the UK that was obtained and processed unfairly commits an offence. I would have thought that our phone operators had better watch their backs.

    Chris-G August 1, 2013 at 12:39 am #
  14. I just got 2 text messages with codes and two phone calls….I didn’t opt in….in fact, I’d never heard of Viber until these texts….I’m definitely not interested….any idea how to get them to leave me alone??

    Hubert August 27, 2013 at 12:45 am #
  15. If your that worried about your privacy, maybe you shouldn’t be doing whatever it is that your doing. Vider seems to be a great way to make free phone calls and texts to people in other countries, like my wife does with her family memebers that can afford a smart phone to run the app in her home country. Why pay for vonage when viber is free. I dont use either since I have no need but if I ever found the need to use one I would for sure use a free app over a paid service. I dont care who has access to my contacts. I doubt any of my friends life will get ruined because I used the app. People are getting way to paranoid these days. “Sounds to good to be true”, wtf is that. Your not trading your soul to make free calls, even if this was an “invasion of privacy”, sounds miniscule.

    Jeff Lemley September 12, 2013 at 4:34 am #
  16. I agree with the author. The problem I have with this is that it forces you to upload your contact info. It doesn’t even prompt you for the creation of a userid, so it’s hard to tell if you will have any sort of ability to delete your contact info AFTER its been uploaded. No, this is clearly not something I am comfortable with.

    If it gave you an option to bypass the upload, or to select a few of your contacts, or if it mentioned something about allowing you to delete contacts later, I would feel a lot safer. But this doesn’t do any of that.

    I have removed this software and will not be installing it again. Same as the author, this was a bright idea suggested by my wife.

    Jake October 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm #
  17. I admit that I use Viber. I don’t like the fact that they do what they do with our Address books. That’s the price you pay for this “free” service. Yes SIP directly is an option however most people are not that tech savvy. I was having an argument with a friend who believed an uncompressed digital copy lost quality from the original (face palm). This does the lack of tech savvyness of most people. If you only hang out with IT people than this isn’t the case. But for most people who know a bit, most of their friends know nothing at all. So I’m my opinion SIP goes out of the window.

    Note to the issue of privacy. After the relevations that the NSA & GHCQ taps everything anyway. The security argument seems to be blown out of the water. The governments are highly influenced by large corporations. Those large corporations can access all the data they want on us anyway simply by leaning on their paid for governments. These apps just make that quicker for them. Their is no digital privacy left in the world. And trying to implement it would probably put you on some government list of being a potential “terrorist” (or “trouble maker” if you have a name that doesn’t sound Moslem).
    So for me my conclusion is simple, if “they” want to snoop on my activities, they are going to snoop on my activities. I cannot do anything (barring going to live on farm with no access to technology, & even then they could use a satellite) about it.
    So why not just enjoy the convenience of Viber. I don’t have anything to hide, and even if I did they would get that info anyway.

    casefile101 November 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm #
    • This has nothing to do with anyone having anything to hide. lol It very simple. If “I” signup for Viber they can have my info because “I” signed up. But “NOT” my 15 year old sister because she’s in my address book. Why does her info have to be “saved” to their servers? Where is her opt-out option? The article is about the privacy of those “in” one’s contact list. I think you missed that. Skype, Vonage, etc, ALL save my info and that is totally fine! They also “scan” my contact list but why does Viber need to scan AND also save my phone’s contacts without their consent?

      Hayden James November 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm #
  18. I get your point. And to an extent I agree.
    I’m just pointing out that our privacy is now non existent anyway. So why not just enjoy the goodies it was sold for. The big corporations will get it eventually anyway. :)

    casefile101 November 6, 2013 at 11:41 pm #
    • True! We are fighting an impossible battle. The problem is, only a token percentage of Viber users think, know or even care about this issue. That makes it so easy for corporations because those who won’t use it will are very few. I’ll stick with Vonage and Whatsapp. :)

      Hayden James November 6, 2013 at 11:49 pm #
      • I would love to stick with Vonage, since that’s what I have for my home phone.
        The quality of Vonage is horrible on my Samsung Galaxy S4, and Viber is good.
        i have tried the vonage Extensions, and the Vonage App, and Viber is just better, all the time.

        Vonage also has a cute little icon that indicates which of my contacts has Vonage, so how is that different from Viber?

        Clarence August 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm #
  19. I use what’s app as well, but that isn’t secure. The most secure for general population use was BBM, but even that is now compromised. I used to help sell BlackBerry solutions for a Major Telco in Asia. But as soon as countries wanted to start snooping their citizens and threatened to outlaw BB from their respective countries, the security went out of the window.
    Friend our paranoid governments and their power hungry security agencies on the payroll of big corporations have messed up the world.
    I wasn’t to go back to the eighties, life was easy and good back then. :)

    casefile101 November 6, 2013 at 11:56 pm #
  20. You’re a stupid head. Your article is ridiculous. Viber doesn’t really have your sisters info. Just a random number to them. They need to let you know which of your contacts is on Viber. Make an account. And just sit there cause you didn’t give them access to your account. Jesus.

    Iscresm November 8, 2013 at 6:28 am #
    • Thanks for your point of view. Over the past couple of months Viber has been modifying their privacy policy, so obviously there is a problem. However, unlike many similar communication apps which scan contacts, Viber continues to scan and also save your contacts’ phone numbers from your address book on their servers. Its up to each user if this is ok or not. There have been growing concern by vigilant users and thankfully it has resulted in some changes by Viber.

      Hayden James November 8, 2013 at 7:31 am #
  21. I really wish I had looked into it and read your article about this evil company before I had installed this app on my phone, I have 100′s of contacts on my phone of people I have talked to maybe once, buying something off craigslist, some girl I met in a bar drunk that typed her number in my phone, whatever, and the fact it autosynchs and relates me to all of these people without me really realizing it would happen is terrifying, and no option to regain that privacy once it has been installed….. I immediately uninstalled the app but I fear the damage is already done and in the future they may contact one of these people in my contact list and link me to them as a friend of some sort. Really scummy methods being employed by this company. There should be a law where we can request and force them to purge all of the information they have on us and any linked relationships with people.

    warning everyone to steer far clear of Viber, I’m pretty upset right now

    Justin November 13, 2013 at 1:58 am #
  22. Someone on my phonebook has recently received two text messages purported to have been sent by me, I did not send these messages and only became aware of the texts when I received their response. When I told the person that I did not send the messages they insisted that they were responding to texts had received from me.
    The question is where is the privacy if any of my contacts on viber can have access to all my viber contacts on my phone?

    bj November 21, 2013 at 8:38 am #
  23. Like you, I’m careful about sharing my contacts with any app that seems to want access to them, but as the 2nd Trackback points out, there are many established services that do essentially the same thing – storing your contacts to spam non-users.

    I lost count of the number of spam emails I get from LinkedIn because some friend or colleague agreed to share their entire contacts list with the service. Facebook similarly offers users the option to scan their contacts in order to discover if others are already Facebook users. Latecomers to any of these services should not be surprised how quickly connections are made once they join – their arrival was anticipated.

    In the end, your or my personal info and contact list is only as private as the sharingest (to coin a term) relative, friend or colleague we have in our lists. The power of networks is against us. What we carefully guard, half a dozen of our associates will freely give away and the bulk of what we guard can be reconstructed from what they share.

    John November 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm #
  24. I am furious. 3.30 am and I get a phone call and text from something called Viber.
    My dad is currently ill and it scared the hell out of me.
    This is entirely unsolicited, I didn’t even know who the hell Viber are, hence I found this. They are clearly not benign, NO company is given my mobile number I keep a pay as you go purely for when I’m ‘forced’ to give my mobile number.
    All you people who think this kind of thing is fine are total brain dead idiots.

    TJ November 26, 2013 at 3:43 am #
  25. I had to quit Viber because some guy in Iran found me. I have no idea how but his calls and texts were a nuisance. Also you can’t delete contacts on Viber! What’s THAT all about? We should have that option. I will not use Viber again. It’s too bad because a lot of my friends overseas have Viber.

    Rebecca December 4, 2013 at 5:28 am #
  26. I received text messages from my ex girlfriend directing me to a viber link for a photo she shared with me supposedly. I received those text a few times, insistently. I called her and she denies sending me anything. She’s actually aware of other contacts of hers receiving those text messages. It’s disgusting, it’s downright disgusting. When a service is free you’re the product, and sometimes that’s horrible because you have no idea how you’re going to be used.

    Mossad funded Israeli company providing free voice services over the world? For free? It’s a no brainer, they’re obviously collecting and building up a network of everyone’s contacts. Who knows what other data or metadata it’s collecting.

    johnny ponny December 19, 2013 at 4:37 am #
  27. One simple question to ask yourself, WHY does Viber need a phone number when an id can be assigned any number of ways and contacts can be manually added?
    The answer it doesn’t.
    It is a data mining scheme, plain and simple. Therefore, it IS a privacy issue, plain and simple.
    To those who say “the man” already has your data I say, two broken bones are better than one, eh?
    To those who have been using Viber and say they haven’t been effected I say, YET.

    Racey December 30, 2013 at 1:27 am #
  28. I don’t even know what Viber is. What I do know is I keep getting calls from a Germany # and when I answer, no one is there. then 1 minute later I have a text from a 415 number telling me to enter a code into my Viber account…. no idea what this even is.

    Ursula March 31, 2014 at 10:12 pm #
  29. aha so someone i know is using them and now they have my contact info is what it sounds like. great….

    Ursula March 31, 2014 at 10:17 pm #
  30. The Windows version requires admin privileges to run, (why ?) I don’t like running my system as admin for various reasons. Thank you for the info, the more I know about this app the more I think it’s just useless crap.

    Goran May 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm #
  31. Be careful! I do nOT install unfamiliar apps because of this. i dont use viper but, i received a text giving me a viper code from 2 different numbers. That dont exist. however, 3 of my friends with my number have it installed. They can get you and ALL of your contacts contact info!! The article is completely right. Get rid of it guys!!

    cutievatlisland@yahoo.com June 7, 2014 at 2:15 am #
  32. I use Smartgroshen app, simple, good quality of voice and sync with your phone contacts.

    Brain June 12, 2014 at 12:08 am #
  33. Tough choice for some, but sometimes you just have to give up a little privacy for convenience. If you have nothing to hide, what’s the issue? I say: Lighten up, Chicken Little. I’m guessing you have no idea how much of your personal information you’ve already given up, without even realizing it. Just keep close tabs on your credit card statements and bank accounts and you’ll be fine.

    Earl Bradley July 18, 2014 at 11:51 pm #
  34. @Earl

    Not sure if you read the article. The issue with Viber was NOT “my” privacy… or the privacy of the USERS of Viber. The issue was the privacy of contacts in one’s address book (NON-USERS). People who NEVER even installed Viber, but who’s contact info is saved without them having the knowledge or choice.

    Hayden James July 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm #
  35. I used Viber for the first time recently to talk to my mom overseas. Strangely all of her contacts ended up in my contacts list. That doesn’t seem right to me. I’m deleting the app as soon as she gets home.

    Galeet July 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm #
  36. Incase you missed it, downloading viber also allowing them to read your text messages, send messages and make calls using your phone. I refused to download it ever again despite how my friends talk me into downloading it. Thanks, but no thanks. I wonder what else that apps is able to do behind your back, maybe calling people using your phone without your knowledge. I’d rather enjoy my sweet privacy.

    tatz July 26, 2014 at 8:32 am #
  37. A lot of us save passwords and pass codes (ATM’s, bank accounts, brokerage, DOB, etc.. God forbids SSN and other Sensitive as contacts. This is the main reason I safeguard my phonebook. In addition I don’t want to receive unsolicited calls, which I already receive many of… early morning hours and late nights, the reason I have to turn the ringer off, chancing that I am not missing a real emergency call

    e July 26, 2014 at 7:48 pm #
  38. Two days ago I received several missed calls from a uk number on my viber. I usually don’t receive calls from numbers not fed in my phone. However, since it was persistent calling, I changed my mind and received the viber call the sixth time round. Ever since then the calls became regular. The third day I blacked the number. However, in that time only, I have received so many call backs saying I called them when I never did! Looks like that call from viber stole my phone book. The number was [removed]

    Most definitely, with viber your phone book is not in safe hands!

    Katie August 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm #
  39. THE ULTIMATE BORDER LINE

    Yesterday when I was going to try Viber I was prepared to some kind of misuse of private data by their service (we all know that most of such players probably do some wicked things), but what I actually discovered was much more than I expected, it was horrible.

    Firstly, on their support website at
    http://support.viber.com/customer/portal/articles/1369501-permissions
    I found the following list of permissions they ask for installation on android device (for other devices the list is not so long but still pose questions):

    Permissions required on Android devices
    ——————————————————–
    Directly call phone numbers
    Read phone status and identity
    Edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
    Read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
    Receive text messages (SMS)
    Send SMS messages
    Take pictures and videos
    Record audio
    Approximate location (network-based)
    Precise location (GPS and network-based)
    Modify your contacts
    Read call log
    Read your contacts
    Read your social stream
    Write call log
    Write to your social stream
    Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
    Disable your screen lock
    Add or remove accounts
    Create accounts and set passwords
    Find accounts on the device
    Read Google service configuration
    Use accounts on the device
    Change network connectivity
    Full network access
    Google Play billing service
    Receive data from Internet
    View network connections
    View Wi-Fi connections
    Bluetooth settings
    Pair with Bluetooth devices
    Close other apps
    Retrieve running apps
    Run at startup
    Draw over other apps
    Control vibration
    Prevent phone from sleeping
    Set wallpaper
    Change your audio settings
    Read sync settings
    Read sync statistics
    Toggle sync on and off
    Modify system settings
    Send sticky broadcast
    Test access to protected storage

    Just to remember, this is to define (practically unrestricted) access rights to your device on which you might have, let say, credit card or other financial data as well as health confidential or other strictly private data!

    So when we add this facts to all issues mentioned in this blog and comments above, there is definitely too much of what we have to worry about.

    I am trying to understand IS IT REALLY NECESSARY for their business to get all these permissions to accomplish a good, fair and quite satisfying service to customers, but I think, usually, for most of users, it’s absolutely NOT necessary. Probably most of users would be much happier with somewhat less to obtain from service, for much less of their privacy to sacrifice. But no doubt, of course, there are always many of those who are willing to sacrifice much more of their privacy to get much more of service. And generally that’s fair, because nothing is free and everything has its price. However, the main points are these rules:
    (a) such a decision should be the explicit and autonomous choice of each individual, and
    (b) there is no excuse and justification for stealing somebody’s privacy!

    As we can see, Viber have put transparently, in advance and publicly, their terms and conditions, and thus they have resolved in acceptable way the (a) part of this normative, since their potential customers have the option to accept or to deny defined terms. But supposing these posts here above are true, Viber obviously make a serious infringement of part (b) of that normative, i.e. with regard to people not even asked for their permission to access and use their data. And that’s probably quite enough for much more serious steps by customers and non-customers than just to deny their confidence to Viber. That said, I have in mind possible serious infringements of EU directives related to privacy and consumer rights.

    As things are going on, perhaps we might expect that in some not too far future there will be no privacy at all in today’s terms: to retain the basic physical security (or even part of it) we all will have to accept a publicly known personal ID, while all our communication and documents will be traceable with that ID, so practically all of our “private” data will be in fact publicly available. The Viber today (and not only Viber) is just a step in that direction. Step by step, now we “sell our souls to devil”; tomorrow we’ll sell our bodies too (or we do it already). And when came here, I cannot persist to recall a famous must-see movie “Soylent Green” from 1973 with Charlton Hesston and Edward G. Robinson (needless to say: some 40 years ago it was a pure futuristic science fiction; today, it seems that such a future is just around the third corner).

    Anyway, I would like to use a service like Viber, only provided it’s within limits of fairness and without violating our rights to privacy. While missing these conditions I am not going to sign up to Viber (or similar), simply because I like much more my privacy and be free of annoying and aggressive people or companies. A the same time I don’t expect this issue is going to be successfully resolved by governments (though it should be!); they already could and should do something effective, but so far – nothing from them. Therefore, more probably this might be settled by the market itself. As today we have more and more web services labeled as “NO ADS”, something similar could happen to services like Viber provide today. There might soon arise new market players labeled as “NO PRIVACY INFRINGEMENT” and able to offer the same quality services without asking too much of our “soul and body”; of course, generally not because of their altruism, but because there they will find their business niche.

    We learn every day, especially after 9/11, that some better security (or somewhat less insecurity) we have to pay with a part of our freedom, especially freedom to privacy. However, in a most banal way the same we have to do while visiting physician: we have to expose and “exchange” a part of our privacy for getting a part of our health. So it’s a kind of a deal too. But in the case of unauthorized usage of private data there is no “exchange”, no deal, it’s just a robbery. And that’s the bottom line of the story. The ULTIMATE BORDER LINE which no company or individual is allowed to cross — no compromise, no excuse, no justification, whatsoever!

    42na August 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm #
  40. I’ve just had a call from Argentina seconds after installing viber …not impressed and 4 rounds of some number text … wish I had read this 1st … ununstalling now not impressed at all

    mc September 26, 2014 at 2:48 am #
  41. Anyone here know if Viber automatically shares your contacts’ photos with your Viber contacts?

    Example scenario: You have your boss John Doe in your phone’s contacts list and of course you don’t like him so you have an offensive photo as his contact picture, Viber adds him to your Viber contact list with that same photo and shares the photo with say, an acquaintance of yours also on Viber who is a friend of your boss since (you know since he may not have a photo assigned to John).

    Get the idea? If they do share contact, that would be crossing the line and I would definitely take action.

    Woah October 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm #
Trackbacks/Pingbacks
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