“Nokia wants to link to your Flickr account”

I’ve aquired a Nokia 5220 from a dear friend of mine. It’s a rather cheap, simple phone but it sports a camera, capacity to play music and video etc. It doesn’t support 3G connections, but heck GPRS is good enough for low-bandwidth stuff. So I’m thinking about starting a photo/fashion blog embedded into my deep, political criticism and other crap I almost manage to write down.

The phone has a Flickr application, which I’m guessing was installed by default rather than the previous owner. This Flickr application allows me to upload images to the account, which is then retrievable from the internets of course. Pretty basic and probably useful for most people who want to easily share their images. Personally I’m not quite satisfied and will probably write my own interface for a photo sharing module to WordPress (or stand-alone) myself…

Anyhow, the first question I get when I’ve newly registered a Flickr account and access it with my mobile phone is: “Nokia wants to link to your Flickr account”. Now, what does this mean?

This is a third-party service. If you don’t trust it with access to your account, then you should not authorize it.

Right. That’s all sound and stuff. But one might be curious as to what would be authorized if you accepted this third-party agreement… Boy was I surprised when I scrolled down and read the following:

By authorizing this link, you’ll allow Nokia to:

  • Access your Flickr account (including private content)
  • Upload, Edit, and Replace photos, and videos in your account
  • Interact with other members’ photos and videos (comment, add notes, favorite)

Wow. Nokia asks permission to become me. Interestingly enough, this is followed by the statement that “Nokia will not have permission to: Delete photos and videos from your account”. Then, I ask myself, what do they mean by allowing them to replace but not delete? And who the fuck would ever authorize them to do this?

I of course clicked “NO THANKS” and uploaded my pictures after logging in to Flickr. But the question appeared once again when I started the application a second time… I wonder if they ever stop nagging. (Was I merely using a fallback HTTP interface? I guess I’ll never know…)

I understand that they need this access to allow their third party application to manage your account details. No human interaction is needed, but still it is not denied. The company Nokia might as well employ 5000 Chinese who do the “management” manually, rather than automatically through software.

This is also why “cloud computing” is bad. It’s the same theory. Outsource/export your control, rights and supervision to a third-party company. No, it’s much better to keep your computing to yourself. You wouldn’t ask a stranger to manage your family photo albums, right?

Update 2010-03-10: As the comment for this post have pointed out, it’s not Nokia the company who are asking for permission, it’s the Nokia photo sharing software. I’m still confused as to why I can’t just hand it my username and password, or better yet a private API key, and be done with it… It should be obvious for people that when you use third-party software it’s distributed “as-is”.

13 thoughts on ““Nokia wants to link to your Flickr account””

  1. I’m guessing the reason for the permission is that there is functionality for all of these things from within the program – if you can use the program to comment on videos then Flicker requires you to give the program permission to do so.

    1. But why the heck would I have to give Nokia permission to do what a software which I control does?

      I’d prefer it if stuff I do on my phone doesn’t have to pass through the supplier of said software…

  2. Facebook says something similar when I tested uploading from F-Spot. Maybe, in order to circumvent the requirement for a API key, they proxy everything?

      1. Aren’t you thinking backwards now?

        I granted *F-Spot* permission to do stuff on *Facebook*. Your’e talking about Nokia (the app) wanting permission to do stuff on Flickr.

        1. Given that Facebook requires you to authorize the F-spot application, and this is the same thing but from Flickr, I kind of get the point.

          But as you said, that’d mean they proxy everything through a third-party API provider. This doesn’t really increase my confidence…

          I’d still rather store my username and password locally (well no, I’d probably only want to store a personal, generated API key) than have to use an unreliable, possibly even unstable, third party.

  3. The error here is “Nokia” if you replace that with “name of the application you are using” things become easier to understand. The grant only applies to that copy of the program. If you can be sure that no one else is proxying or controlling that application it is safe. f it is a third party hosted program, a second thought might be good.

    1. Frisno: …why would I have to accept that “this program is allowed to do whatever I explicitly tell it to do”?

      The default free software disclaimer, that the software “IS PROVIDED AS-IS”, is much better. But of course, I’d be very suspicious if a closed-source software told me “this’ll work as we wrote it, but we won’t tell you what we did”…

      In either case, I could still use the application to upload and edit Flickr stuff. So what I would’ve granted wasn’t an EULA or anything, just a request for a third-party to administrate my Flickr account. Creepy.

      1. Yes, I agree, it looks a bit weird and redundant (most times it really is), but there is a thought behind it.
        It is supposed to be an extra layer on top/below password, where you can grant/extend the ways to interact with your account, as well as remove the grants when you no longer want them (good when using online services).
        I hope they soon implement limit/grant per action, for example: The program can “delete”, but I will not grant that, to avoid deletion mistakes.
        That you are allowed to upload without auth sounds a bit odd, have a peek at your extend page to see if something is listed there… http://www.flickr.com/account/?tab=extend

        1. Of course I have to auth with the Flickr account, but my “application” mostly just opens up a web browser.

          I feel a strong lack of trust and faith in any mobile phone software. A Maemo powered N900 will make my mobile life a lot easier. :)

          1. mmmm… debian on a phone.. why is it always to far between the operator renewals.

            BTW, why did you Englishify this post?

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