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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    xchange's Avatar

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    Default I need more control

    I'm starting to get pretty uncomfortablein my relationship with Google and Android lately. Let me start by saying I've been using Android since Froyo and in my opinion it's much more advanced than anything else in the smartphone stratosphere. But ever since Google started pulling it's core services out of AOSP I've been keeping an eye on the permissions of Gmail, Search, Chrome, etc and quite frankly I find the trend increasingly worrisome.

    For example I most definitely do not like my sms being read by Google search. I don't like that Gmail is becoming an advertising tool, and that unsuspecting users who aren't tech savvy will now have Google + users able to email them by default. Although I'm more careful about what I put in email, my sms most definitely is more personal and nobody other than my carrier should be accessing conversations I have with my close friends and relatives and even that's begrudgingly because I have no choice.

    What about Hangouts? Am I safe to now assume that video conversations I have with my relatives are fair game for Google employees to watch? I already know my photos are fair game.

    I don't have anything to hide. But I don't like it either. I need more control over what Google is allowed to harvest from my life.

    I'm hoping some of you may have some options to suggest, maybe even something rooting my android devices can achieve. Or some encryption solution? I'm open to ideas here because Google has pretty much crossed my threshold of privacy tolerance now.
    The complacency about security among android users is disturbing.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: I need more control

    You can't escape Google. Whatever you don't give them, someone else will, be it though Facebook or some photo locker or other service.

    I would not be too surprised that they eventually change the TOS to make every sound a Moto-X pics up with it's always on mic, to be fair game. For all we know, the cameras are probably already in use for some nefarious goal by someone or other. (Echelon comes to mind...)
    "All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility."
    - The Ascent of man.
    J. Bronowsky.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Google employees are looking at your photos?

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using AC Forums mobile app
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  4. #4  

    Default Re: I need more control

    First suggestion: pay for services. Google gives you stuff for free, in exchange for receiving targeted ads.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using AC Forums mobile app
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  5. #5  

    Default Re: I need more control

    At least Google give you some control for their services where you might not have a choice with others. There are more companies I trust less, as well as information brokers companies and the profit they make from selling your data without your permission. I don't have great experience with Apple, but from what I've seen Google gives me much more control, especially via Dashboard.

    I think my main reason for login in Gmail account is due to the need to install and update apps. Even though there are other alternatives, PlayStore dominates and if you want good apps you have no choice. Of course you need to be logged in to authenticate purchased apps as well. I don't even use Google Maps much anymore.

    I would say your first step would be to start using AOSP or Cyanogenmod if you're concerned. I just think there are too many companies that violate user privacy and blocking Google alone isn't enough to help. Pay services means nothing, paying them doesn't mean they won't keep your info, your credit card and address first.
    Last edited by someguy01234; 01-11-2014 at 12:49 AM.
  6. #6  
    tgp
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    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by xchange View Post
    What about Hangouts? Am I safe to now assume that video conversations I have with my relatives are fair game for Google employees to watch? I already know my photos are fair game.
    Have you been watching Scroogled ads? Don't worry; no Google employee is watching anything of yours. It's probably technically possible, but I doubt anything is watched or read unless there's a good reason for it. For one thing, do you realize how much manpower it would take to manually watch all the data available to Google? It's logistically impossible for them to do it. If Google doesn't have your information, someone else will. In my opinion allowing Google to have my data is well worth the benefits I realize from it.
    I have a Nexus 4, an iPhone 5, and a Lumia 520, and I like them all. Is something wrong with me? (I really should edit my signature sometime. I have only 1 of these 3 phones anymore, and even that one is mostly unused because it's been superseded by its big brother!)
  7. #7  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by sauce_a_poutine View Post
    You can't escape Google. Whatever you don't give them, someone else will, be it though Facebook or some photo locker or other service.

    I would not be too surprised that they eventually change the TOS to make every sound a Moto-X pics up with it's always on mic, to be fair game. For all we know, the cameras are probably already in use for some nefarious goal by someone or other. (Echelon comes to mind...)
    Google gets info from other companies? (not like there isn't anything that google hasn't taken already but...)
    Last edited by paisley99; 01-11-2014 at 07:44 AM.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: I need more control

    I have increasingly been worried about all these privacy scares as well. I'm thinking of moving to Blackberry closing my Google account and all services, then twitter and instagram. Its scary sometimes how a simple Google search can turn up so much stuff.

    Posted via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App
  9. #9  
    JeffDenver's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need more control

    You do not have to use any Google services with any android phone. Not even Gmail.
  10. #10  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by xchange View Post
    I don't like that Gmail is becoming an advertising tool, and that unsuspecting users who aren't tech savvy will now have Google + users able to email them by default.
    Couple things I'll point out here. Gmail isn't becoming, it has been since Gmails inception the idea that they use certain aspects of the service for advertising. Also, being able to email from G+ has actually been an option within G+ itself for a long time, they just moved the function and settings into Gmail instead of G+.
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  11. #11  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    You do not have to use any Google services with any android phone. Not even Gmail.
    Not possible. Need Google to even download apps from the play store. Or else someone uses Amazon app store and gets rid of the play store completely.

    Posted via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App
  12. #12  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by AaronDeVante View Post
    Not possible. Need Google to even download apps from the play store. Or else someone uses Amazon app store and gets rid of the play store completely.

    Posted via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App
    That is completely possible too. I did that on my cheap tablet because it didn't have the play store. I got all my apps from "Get Jar" on that.

    Sent from my LG-LG870 using Tapatalk 2
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  13. #13  
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    Default Re: I need more control

    Data mining companies know everything there is to know about you already.

    That horse left the barn years ago.

    Sent via The Big, Bad, Beautiful Note 3
    What?!...I'm msndrstood.

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  14. #14  

    Default Re: I need more control

    If it's not commercial it's the government spying. We have never had privacy (most of us). It's amazing how much the police know about people who've never even been arrested, for example.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk 2
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  15. #15  

    Default Re: I need more control

    As another example, if you use hulu look in your settings because by default you are opted in for them to track all websites you visit via a cookie.

    Posted via Android Central App
  16. #16  

    Default Re: I need more control

    What creeps me out is the facial recognition apps they're coming out with. You can take a picture of a stranger and then do a search on them, get everything there is online. Imagine anyone you keep your distance from doing that to you when you aren't paying attention.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk 2
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  17. #17  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmumbles View Post
    What creeps me out is the facial recognition apps they're coming out with. You can take a picture of a stranger and then do a search on them, get everything there is online. Imagine anyone you keep your distance from doing that to you when you aren't paying attention.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk 2
    One of the problem is that it's possible to get wrong info. There are database to search for individual criminal offenses and many cases they are incorrect or untrue, those companies sell the info/service to third parties and also charge you if you want the info removed (which will be re-added in the future).

    Quote Originally Posted by AaronDeVante View Post
    Not possible. Need Google to even download apps from the play store. Or else someone uses Amazon app store and gets rid of the play store completely.

    Posted via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App
    This isn't an option for me since there are a few paid apps I use that required login in to the PlayStore to authenticate and not available on Amazon. Not to mention free ones. I am well aware of a repository service that let people download apps not available in their country, but really it's a haven for piracy and malware, and I prefer to purchase my apps.
    Last edited by someguy01234; 01-11-2014 at 12:41 PM.
  18. #18  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy01234 View Post
    One of the problem is that it's possible to get wrong info. There are database to search for individual criminal offenses and many cases they are incorrect or untrue, those companies sell the info/service to third parties and also charge you if you want the info removed (which will be re-added in the future).
    That's sort of like the stuff I find online when I do test searches on myself. Enough wrong stuff pops up that I feel better, but enough right stuff pops up that I wish they'd remove but even of I asked them to, some other company would just keep putting it online, etc.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk 2
  19. Thread Author  Thread Author    #19  
    xchange's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need more control

    What I find most bothersome of all now is the read sms permission in the Google Search app since it's a deeply embedded part of android phones. I'm careful about what I search for and what I say in emails. But texts to and from my family and friends will inevitably end up containing a fair amount of my personal life over time.

    It's highly inconvenient not to mention logistically impossible to expect everyone in my life to switch to some highly encrypted sms service.
    The complacency about security among android users is disturbing.
  20. #20  
    JeffDenver's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need more control

    This thread convinced me to delete my Google+ account. There is nothing I'm missing.
  21. #21  

    Default Re: I need more control

    They probably know a lot more about us from Forum posts than from E-mails and text messages. Forum posts are public, therefore, are also a lot "cleaner" to mine legally, and easier for bots to categorize into context, because thread titles and forum segments are typically laden with relevant keywords...
    "All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility."
    - The Ascent of man.
    J. Bronowsky.
  22. #22  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    This thread convinced me to delete my Google+ account. There is nothing I'm missing.
    Same here deleted mines last night signed onto gmail onto my laptop just now and already I was asked do I want to join Google Plus, short answer Hell No!
  23. #23  

    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by sauce_a_poutine View Post
    They probably know a lot more about us from Forum posts than from E-mails and text messages. Forum posts are public, therefore, are also a lot "cleaner" to mine legally, and easier for bots to categorize into context, because thread titles and forum segments are typically laden with relevant keywords...
    I believe you searching one of my forum names on google and got all the sites I tend to comment on.
  24. Thread Author  Thread Author    #24  
    xchange's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need more control

    Quote Originally Posted by sauce_a_poutine View Post
    They probably know a lot more about us from Forum posts than from E-mails and text messages. Forum posts are public, therefore, are also a lot "cleaner" to mine legally, and easier for bots to categorize into context, because thread titles and forum segments are typically laden with relevant keywords...
    In number of search results yes, but the ability to read your sms conversations over the years lets Google in on a lot more personal data. Your wife reminding you to pick up drug prescriptions, your kids telling you about their daily activities, your parent asking if you can drive them to a chemotherapy appointment. And so on, and so on, for years. Not just you, but also all of those you've communicated with.

    The email and Web search datamining I can deal with. It's much easier to control. But having to self censor such a frequently used communication tool like sms in order to maintain privacy becomes much more problematic and inconvenient.
    The complacency about security among android users is disturbing.
  25. #25  
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    Default Re: I need more control

    And the credit reporting agencies are proposing that they start trolling social media sites and include whatever info they gleen from them into your credit report. Just peachy.

    Sent via The Big, Bad, Beautiful Note 3
    What?!...I'm msndrstood.

    Sent via Note 2
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