When you install an application on an Android phone from the Android Market, you see a list of permissions that the app needs in order to function. It is important to pay attention to what you see in the list and ask yourself whether they make sense for the application. Does it make sense that a wallpaper app needs access to your personal information? If you see something that doesn’t make sense, I recommend that you do not install the app.
There are 22 different permissions that an app could require, and I doubt that most Android users know what each of them mean. I have found a web page on the Technically Personal web site that provides a nice explanation for each one of the permissions and I recommend that Android users read the article. While I personally like the freedom that Google’s hands off approach with the Android Market provides, I do think that Google is going to put some controls in place to take care of users who aren’t going to take the time to understand app permissions. In the mean time Android users will need to take some care to know what an app does before installing it on their phone.