Do IT before you get done in by IT.
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ABSA Bank South Africa / Barclays Bank = SPYWARE distributors

I’ve been a loyal customer of ABSA for 27 years. Since Trustbank days. I opened my first account when I was 12 years old. I was so proud! I’ve not always been impressed with their service, but when their banking app for Android came out I was over the moon! At least the first version… which I have now un-installed in UTTER DISGUST! Why? Because they’re trying to invade my privacy.

This week, when I tried to access my online banking, it refused until I updated the application. Now I’m not a guy who just jumps in and updates because someone tells me to. I’ve been in IT since 1994 and have had my run-ins with developers. The good, the bad and the ugly. So, before I just go ahead and upgrade, I read the readme and the change log. Now Android Play Store doesn’t carry this as such in details because it is developer dependent to supply all the details. It does however show you what rights the application needs or needs additionally to what you’ve already allowed it.

And, to my UTTER shock, this bloody app wants the following rights to install:

  • Modify and delete content of your storage device. OK, that’s not to bad… All applications get lonely or bored sometimes and uses local storage for cache.
  • FULL NETWORK ACCESS. OK, I can get over that…. After all, it’s a secure application that needs to encrypt comms to the server…
  • Directly call phone numbers. Without MY permission it will call ANY number it desires at MY cost! SERIOUSLY!??!?! And it can read and MODIFY MY CALL LOG! Hiding the phone call it just made !!! SERIOUSLY!!!???
  • Read and modify my contacts ! HUH! WHY!?!?! IT’S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS! You’ve got enough clients, leave my friends alone.

    and my personal favourite that had me ROTFLMAO….
  • Take pictures and videos. Basically, the app can take a picture or video of you WITHOUT YOU KNOWING IT and upload it to the internet (cause it has FULL INTERNET ACCESS). Uh, WHAT THE HELL!

This is blatant invasion of MY privacy using MY cellphone to perpetrate an unconstitutional act. The right to privacy is protected by common law and the constitution, which is the supreme law of our country. Them invading my privacy or attempting to invade my privacy is … [fill in something that makes you angry].


So, I leave a bad rating and a comment stating this. Guess what? My comment disappears… So, even further disgusted, I leave another comment… and GUESS WHAT! It also disappears ! No explanation. No communication. No attempt to explain to me WHY they want that type of access to MY PERSONAL phone.

The only comments they seem to not delete are the ones that make the app look good… or not to bad, at least.

The term for this type of application is SPYWARE ( Since when has a bank needed to distribute SPYWARE to their loyal clients?

This incident has been all the nails in the coffin of my loyalty to ABSA. They’ve lived up to the statements people make of them. 


(I must admit, I expect a gag order or something similar to follow soon, so tell all your friends.).


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