Giving Internet Permission

OI apps embrace user-owned storage

Giving Internet Permission

OpenIntents is a community effort to promote and discuss the use of Android intents and similar concept of modern mobile platforms. Until now, there were little reasons for OpenIntents to allow apps to access the internet. The applications are mainly productivity apps for Android that handle user data on the user’s device. OpenIntents does not want to deal with user data or track any users. Therefore, android.permission.INTERNET was not added to the manifests even when Google made this permission not dangereous anymore. (Read more for example at Android Police from 2015)

This changed today. 10 years after version 1.0.0 of OI ConvertCSV was released (on 9th Dec 2008), OI ConvertCSV is the first (of many) application that received the internet permission. OpenIntents still does not want to deal with user data or track users but the user should have the possibility to backup their data at the location they want (and import from wherever they want). With the development in blockchain technology this is possible. Blockstack has build a storage system (gaia) that belongs to the user in the real sense:

  • Users create their own decentralized identity that truely belongs to the user (by means of the private key).
  • User names are registered on the blockchain backed by a large (bitcoin) community, not a single for-profit company.
  • Users can configure were application data should be storage by editing their public profile.
  • The app only provides a domain name to identify the app data. (For OI ConvertCSV, this is

OpenIntents is not involved in these user activities. We only provide the code to enable the user and we had the chance to contribute to the (open source) Android SDK for Blockstack. OI ConvertCSV was ideal for the first conversion to an app that is backed by user-owned storage. As the purpose of the app is to backup and transfer shopping lists and notes, it was a question of adding a custom document provider for the Android storage access framework (SAF) and an account activity. Through the SAF, the user can now choose a location on their own gaia storage to backup their data or to transfer it to another device.

If you want to read more about Blockstack, there is a nice tutorial for developers to get into the topic of user-owned storage at