Why AIR Doesn’t Ask for Permission

Commenter Tek suggests that AIR should warn the user each time an application tries to do something potentially dangerous, like access the file system.

Here’s just a few reasons why we don’t do this:

  • It’s annoying. No one likes to deal with these dialogs all the time. And if everyone just suppresses them, then what’s the point?
  • It’s insufficient. Accessing the file system alone or the network alone is often ok, but approving the combination is sufficient to let someone upload all your data.
  • It’s unanswerable. Unless you wrote the application or studied its source code, you probably don’t have enough information to answer, anyway.
  • It’s broken. If you say no to any of these dialogs, the application will most likely stop working.

Ultimately, choosing to run a desktop application is about trust. Virus scanners, firewalls, and the like don’t ask you about what applications are doing because they’re trying to protect you from those applications. On the contrary, they’re notifying you about behavior that might be the result of software you didn’t install. That’s an altogether different question: if you didn’t install the software, say no!