Official airport iPhone app prompts privacy fears
Heathrow Guide demands personal data
The British Airports Authority (BAA), owner of Heathrow, has released an app for both iPhone and Android handsets that aims to aid aviators make the most of the their passage through through the airport.
However, it is already drawing flack from downloaders for demanding personal details such as name, email address, date of birth and mobile phone number before allowing them to access its features.
The app's first reviewers at the iTunes App Store wonder, not unreasonably, why the software needs this information. Earlier today, we asked BAA to comment but it has yet to do so. We'll update the story if it does in due course.
Once past the registration data, Heathrow Airport Guide provides all the information you'd expect to find on the airport's website: terminal maps, airport news, check-in details and so forth.
BAA is currently offering a 'Pro' version of the app which also inlcudes flight updates, flight progress tracking, six months of scheduled flight timetables and five-day weather forecasts for over 220 locations around the world.
Heathrow Airport Guide Pro is free for now, but goes up to £1.79 on 1 June. At that point, BAA will release a free version that lacks the flight updates, timetables and weather data.
You can download the iPhone/iPod Touch version here. The Android release is available through the Android Marketplace, and a BlackBerry version is due to land at some point in the near future. ®
Introducing a skip registration button
Thanks for your comments on our recent app. We clearly didn't get it quite right on the pre-registration front, so we're introducing a skip registration button. Let us know what else you'd like to see on future updates. Heathrow App Team
They may ask for data, but they don't validate it...
Just registered the app under the name Mr Bat Poo, with email address email@example.com and mobile number 07654 321123
I hope they collect lots of similarly useful CRM data.
Typical BAA - intrusive and incompetent.
Excuse me Mr asdf assadf
That name looks suspiciously foreign to me sir. Would you mind stepping into this room and lowering your trousers - while I snap this elbow-length glove on?
Maybe its of use to someone who travels a lot...
...but the casual traveller isn't going to cough up the cash for something they may only use once in the next few years.
And what about the rest of us with non-apple smart phones. You'd think there was only one device out there. Grrrrrrrr
I cannot see how mr asdf assadf with account firstname.lastname@example.org with phone number 0123456768868 will help them though?