Nothing in life is free, not even Jay-Z’s music album

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Samsung said it was going to buy a million copies of Jay-Z’s new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail and give them away for free. But like we all very well know, nothing in life is free… not even a lunch (or an app.) Jon Parles, a respected and veteran music writer for the New York Times noted Friday:

It demands permissions, including reading the phone’s status and identity, which made some users, notably the rapper Killer Mike, suspicious: Does Jay-Z really need to log my calls? It also gathers “accounts,” the e-mail addresses and social-media user names connected to the phone. Those permissions are often part of a typical app package. This one got worse. When installed, it demanded a working log in to Facebook or Twitter and permission to post on the account. Sure, Jay-Z probably isn’t the only one offering apps that treat personal relationships as mandatory marketing tools. But with more than half a million downloads, that’s a lot of artificial status updates.


What is worrying is that some folks have already cloned Jay-Z’s android app. A BBC report pointed to McAfee research note:

McAfee Mobile Security has identified a new Android Trojan embedded in a pirated copy of an exclusive app from rapper Jay Z. We suspect the malware author is attempting to go after the demand for the app Magna Carta Holy Grail on pirated sites. The legitimate app has been released exclusively for Samsung devices on Google Play. On the surface, the malware app functions identically to the legit app. But in the in the background, the malware sends info about the infected device to an external server every time the phone restarts. The malware then attempts to download and install additional packages.

We totally understand that Samsung was looking for some good publicity from their partnership with Jay-Z, but one wonders if this is the kind of publicity they had in mind. Of course, in a world where everyone is getting a copy of our data — Facebook, Google, phone companies and the government — should we complain about Jay-Z? I mean, the guy is trying to make a (billion) bucks.

Photo courtesy of McAfee Security