Tech journo raises privacy concerns over PNP human rights app, urges people not to install appadvertisement
Android users who don’t want to compromise their privacy might want to avoid installing the Philippine National Police’s “Know Your Rights” app.
Technology journalist Art Samaniego Jr. raised some questions over the security risks that might come with the recently released app, considering how the app installation process includes requiring access to the person’s phone, phone call logs, text messages, photos, and other files.
He warned of “red flags” presented by the access requirement, given how the app was supposedly designed to “provide relevant information for the general public and all PNP personnel on human rights.”
In a separate post, Samaniego also showed a screenshot of a part of the app’s code, where the variable name “backdoor” can be seen, although he also threw out the idea that it could be the developer’s joke.
In coding, a backdoor allows a developer to bypass encryptions meant to secure a user’s phone or install other apps onto the phone without consent.
Samaniego’s advice? “Don’t install, protect your privacy,” he wrote.
Rappler reported that they have contacted the PNP and the developer for a comment, but they have not responded as of posting time.
The PNP released the “Know Your Rights” app on December 4 to aid the police and the public in educating themselves about human rights.
One of the things that the app teaches is the Miranda rights, which goes, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
If the cop failed to read this to you during an arrest, then you can question that arrest.
PNP Human Rights Affairs Office head, Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo, said that the availability of the app shows the public that the PNP respects, protects and fulfills human rights.