The Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) states that the Info Praia app is safe. "All information collected, (about) location and favorite beaches, is stored exclusively on the user's device and no personal information is transmitted to third parties or APA", says this entity in response to the Observer after criticisms made by the association for Digital Rights D3.
The same entity adds that "the application does not require a user registration, thus not collecting any personal data". “The only permission that is requested from the user, at the time of installation, is the location, for the purpose of the proximity and indication of route directions via Google Maps”, says the APA.
The Portuguese Environment Agency, as the entity responsible for the Info Praia application, takes its users' right to privacy seriously. The Info Praia app is made available with the commitment to ensure the quality of service and navigation in safety and in absolute respect for the protection of the privacy of its users. ”
At issue, it was mainly the information that was on the Google Play (or Play Store) page. In this platform for downloading applications, when accessed through the browser, it was said that in order to work in some versions of the app, authorizations were considered as access to the microphone or to the user's photos or phone information.
Portuguese association for digital rights against beaches app
This Sunday morning, the APA responded to the answers to questions sent by the Observer in the late afternoon of this Saturday, clarifying that “the versions that were made available to the public” did not ask for these accesses. "It is clarified further, avoiding any doubts that still existed, that the Beta version (trial version) was removed, which was not available to the general public, as can be confirmed in the Play Store."
These data were updated on Saturday night. According to the APA, "the reference to permissions such as that of the Microphone were removed by the Play Store itself, leaving only those that version 1.1.3 and earlier have always needed".
It is important to clarify that including this version 1.1.3, it presents only the permission requests identified in image 5, that is, location and internet verification (to access the application's contents) ”, says the APA.
The app info Praia was mentioned this Friday by the Prime Minister, António Costa, during the presentation of the rules for attending the beaches in the next bathing season as one of the solutions for control. According to the executive, the Info Praia app provides updated information continuously and in real time, being one of the measures implemented to consult the traffic lights on the beaches remotely. In less than a day, the application became on the list of the most installed in iOS application download stores, the App Store (Apple), and Google Play, Android.
The Info Praia app was launched in 2019. Initially, the goal was to allow quick consultation on beaches and bathing water quality. The APA informs that the information provided by the Portuguese Environment Agency is complemented by the daily weather forecast data provided by the service of the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere, IP.