Thursday, August 9, 2012

Naver's Line app need root permissions?

Naver's Line app is extremely popular in Japan. It was partly responsible for NTT Docomo network troubles that resulted in punitive, temporary pay cuts for CEO Yamada and other top executives.

I've been badgered to install it since the beginning of the year, but there is no way I am surrendering that much access to my personal information to a relatively unknown company. While their privacy policy states they'll behave with all the information about you and your contacts that they collect, I'm not quite convinced.

Now we've got a report of the Line app asking for root permission. There is no reason whatsoever that this app should do that, and you should never grant it that privilege - or any app that doesn't specifically need it, which are typically system utilities. Apps that need root to function correctly are firewalls, CPU over/under clockers, application backup tools, etc.

This of course only affects people who have have a rooted device. [Note that this screenshot shows the newer SuperSU is installed, rather than Superuser.]

Has anyone else noticed this behavior?


  1. LINE is operated by NHN Japan, the subsidiary of NHN in Korea, the country's biggest web company with a US$11 billion market cap. It's listed at the Seoul Stock Exchange and was founded in 1999.

    Even NHN Japan has over 1,000 employees and is active over here since 2000 ;).

    That obviously mean you can automatically trust them, but this company is certainly not unknown.

  2. Thanks as always for the insight, Serkan.

    I attempted to qualify that statement with relatively, as in relative to the Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Skype, et al., with the implication being that, due to their global presence, the former companies must comply with the privacy laws of many countries and are therefore less likely to engage in shady behavior with respect to the handling and securing of the personal information they collect.

    Maybe I shoulda just said that instead. ;)

  3. I just installed it and it didn't ask for root, I am guessing someone made a mistake with one of the updates.

    That app has the right combination of things to make Japanese go nuts for it. I know my wife and all of here friends use it. 

  4. Running LINE since months ago and it never asked for root. Did you get your LINE installer through Play Store?

  5. Maybe some glitch? Cause I've been using the app for months without seeing anything like this