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    Default Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Hi, I really love android phones for their versatility and support from developers and community but one thing I can't get over is the fact that it's owned by Google. This is probably an old issue with the NSA leaks and what not but I don't think most people are educated about just how much we share with Google myself included.

    So any experts here who do know? I know Google collects browsing data when signed in on desktops but I wonder if that happens regardless on android. Do they know our calls, texts, pictures, and videos?

    I might be a tad paranoid but I think my worry's warranted given the amount of data and time we invest in our phones.
    Last edited by NotJustAPhone; 03-28-2014 at 10:50 AM.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Hi!

    In my case, I categorically refuse to use Google+, I think that's where the major privacy issues are. And I don't use Chrome either. I could be completely ignorant and deluded in the matter, though, but I do get the feeling that with these 2 out of the picture, I retain more privacy. Anyone please feel free to set me straight.
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  3. #3  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Welcome to Android Central! Ok, I'm not an expert in this area, but I would bet a lot of money that any platform (as well as social networks, online retailers, news sites that you've registered on, etc.) collects a lot of data about you. I think Google is fairly forthcoming in all of its Terms and Conditions when you sign up and decide to use their services, just like most any other platform. One difference I would point out is that it is easier to review app permissions on Google Play or the Amazon Appstore than it is on the Apple App Store.

    I believe that allowing these companies to have access to this kind of information is the price to pay for all of these services that essentially cost no money. The main alternative would be for everyone to pay a fee for all of these services, and I think we all know how that would be received.
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  4. #4  
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    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    I am inclined to believe that Facebook is one of the biggest proponents of data collection.

    From a Sprint Moto X using AC Forums app

    Phone Timeline
    'If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.' - Mahatma Gandhi
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  5. #5  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Really? Do you imagine that Apple execs in their Cupertino Castle or Microsoft execs in Redmond are not all developing new and improved ways mine your data and use it to increase profits through marketing and other means? Of course they are. Google is no worse than them and they are no better than Google.

    Posted with my Nexus 7 via Android Central App
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  6. #6  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    i don't rly think your privacy is more protected by not using G+ and Chrome '-'

    Facebook and FB Messenger asks a LOT of permissions that can spy on you and collect data...and basically any browser you install can do that too!
    heck, ANY app with network access can collect data lol

    and what about those keyboard apps? what make you so sure they are not, secretly, seeing all your passwords and everything you type thru collected data?

    we could go on and on about this thing with privacy and paranoy but at the end of the day, it's all about who you rather trust!

    that's why i only get stuff from known, trustable devs and i always check permissions to see if they are not being too abusive!

    and i use all Google services and don't give a crap lol i mean...what could they want with a poor 23 year old brazilian student? XD


    sent from my Moto G
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  7. #7  
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    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by OH ryan View Post
    Hi, I really love android phones for their versatility and support from developers and community but one thing I can't get over is the fact that it's owned by Google.
    You are not required to use anything from Google to use any Android phone. You do not even need a GMail address.

    So any experts here who do know? I know Google collects browsing data when signed in on desktops but I wonder if that happens regardless on android. Do they know our calls, texts, pictures, and videos?
    In theory they do, but they do not connect it to your name or ID. It is anonymous.

    I might be a tad paranoid but I think my worry's warranted given the amount of data and time we invest in our phones.
    You were already sharing this info with your carrier anyway. So it is not a new issue. Your carrier has had the ability to listen in on your calls and texts and track your movements for many years now.

    You do have a choice with google. You can uninstall all your Google apps. They are not required to use the phone. It's an option that Apple and Microsoft do not offer you.
  8. #8  
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    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Diddy View Post
    I would bet a lot of money that any platform (as well as social networks, online retailers, news sites that you've registered on, etc.) collects a lot of data about you.
    Which is exactly what the feds are monitoring and storing. With or without the corporations' cooperation.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    i guess the best thing, like i said, is going for well-known and trustable devs and making sure permissions are according what the app does!

    because well...privacy in the interwebz is smth getting more and more complicated, since most companies want to collect your data for ads! this is NOT just a Google thing and you are naive to think so!

    i think the best BEST way to protect your privacy is staying out of the web...but that isn't rly possible nowadays right?

    sent from my Moto G
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  10. #10  
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    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    The internet itself is a privacy nightmare. I would be more concerned if I were you that we can no longer comfortably say "you don't need AV on Android as long as you only install from Play Store". The last 2 years in a row have had malware apps spotted in Play Store. The latest one which was just found this week by Trend Micro is even worse than last year's because it turns your freaking phone into a bitcoin mining device without you even knowing.
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by xchange View Post
    The internet itself is a privacy nightmare. I would be more concerned if I were you that we can no longer comfortably say "you don't need AV on Android as long as you only install from Play Store". The last 2 years in a row have had malware apps spotted in Play Store. The latest one which was just found this week by Trend Micro is even worse than last year's because it turns your freaking phone into a bitcoin mining device without you even knowing.
    Yeah, but reviewers outted it. Thats why I am not that concerned.

    And the installer tells you what phone resources/functions it has access to when you install it.
  12. #12  
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    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDenver View Post
    Yeah, but reviewers outted it. Thats why I am not that concerned.

    And the installer tells you what phone resources/functions it has access to when you install it.
    I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing:

    Mobile Malware Mines Dogecoins and Litecoins for Bitcoin Payout? | Security Intelligence Blog | Trend Micro

    Whether reviews outted one of them or not they shouldn't have made it into Play store let alone getting to millions of downloads. Still no response from Google yet either that I've seen other than pulling the two offending apps. How many more are in there right now that haven't been spotted? This is the 2nd year in a row. Google's never going to admit it's store is no longer safe so we can't rely on Google to tell us what apps/tools we need to prevent apps like this from messing with our devices. We're basically left on our own to figure it out.
  13. #13  
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    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by xchange View Post
    Whether reviews outted one of them or not they shouldn't have made it into Play store let alone getting to millions of downloads. Still no response from Google yet either that I've seen other than pulling the two offending apps.
    As of right now, both apps are removed. I know that Prized was already removed when I first heard this story.

    How many more are in there right now that haven't been spotted?
    Out of the million on the Play store? So far we've seen 2. It's literally almost a 1 in a million chance.

    I'll take my chances, heh heh.
  14. #14  
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    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    How do you arrive at that? That's a pretty loose gamble. I'm more inclined to believe the odds are much worse (for us) using that logic.
  15. #15  

    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    I couldn't agree more. I have had my first android (a moto g 16gb) for just over a week and having got to grips with it I believe the privacy implications are shocking at best or there is no privacy for anyone whatsoever.

    The level of phone permissions google app store think is acceptable for apps it utterly appalling. And then they go and remove "app ops" access from kitkat (so you can't alter app permissions) which just goes to show how much they value the privacy of android users.

    I'm seriously considering rooting my new phone now just so I can have a semblance of privacy, but at the end of the day I shouldn't have to do that. Privacy of my phone, my contacts, my messages, heck even recording me in my own home should be a given, yet in the fog of today's technology it appears to have floated away along with the rights of every single android phone user.

    Don't get me wrong I am more than impressed with my new smart phone, but it most certainly comes at a cost, a cost Google thinks is acceptable.

    I DON'T THINK SO!
  16. #16  

    Default

    Am I the only person on earth who couldn't care less about corporate / government spying? People still cling to antiquated notions of what's supposed to constitute privacy. Get used to the fact that every facet of your life has the potential for being monitored by somebody somewhere! Big Brother has indeed arrived. He was just later than expected. AND, there is no turning back ...

    X-9 = 2B^3
  17. #17  

    Default Re: Is Android a privacy nightmare?

    I'm not disagreeing, but why is it not all over the media left right and centre? Its blatantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense that Google is deliberately allowing apps with spurious permissions onto their app store specifically to allow the governments of the world to spy on anyone with an android device.

    Why isn't anyone speaking out about it? Why is it being pushed under the carpet?
  18. #18  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Diddy View Post
    One difference I would point out is that it is easier to review app permissions on Google Play or the Amazon Appstore than it is on the Apple App Store.
    I could care less about what information is being collected about me on the net, I trust Google, as well as Apple - they're too big to car about my little things... I'm not a criminal, nor am I a terrorist, or in a gang, or a secret anti-government cell. I obey the law. But I have to call you out on this.... Apple does NOT allow ANY APP to even start accessing any data, photo, hardware, mic, camera, etc. until you allow it. As soon as you install an app, it will prompt you (one by one) about what every permission that the app is asking for, and it's as simple as choosing ALLOW or DO NOT ALLOW -- At the same time every app will work regardless if you allow any or NOT even one permission. You can choose to allow Facebook (for example) to not see your contacts, but photos only,... or Google Maps not to use your GPS location (obviously step by step directions may be useless) but you can still use it to map Point A to Point B without ever giving away your location to Google. Furthermore, you can go to your settings and change those permissions at will (including native apps).

    With Google Play most apps (if not all) are all permissions or no app for you.

    B. Diddy, are we talking about the same thing? Not starting a war, but you were a bit misleading. I understand that OP was asking about Android, but he has other options if he's really concerned about Google's or some Apps demanding permissions on Android...
  19. #19  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alik Malix View Post
    B. Diddy, are we talking about the same thing? Not starting a war, but you were a bit misleading. I understand that OP was asking about Android, but he has other options if he's really concerned about Google's or some Apps demanding permissions on Android...
    What I was simply saying is that it is easier to review app permissions before installing an app from Google Play and Amazon Appstore than it is on the Apple App Store. Whenever you select an app from Google Play to install, it will show you a whole screen of permissions right up front before you install. So if you don't like the looks of it, you can hold off on installing, and perhaps do a little more research. When I just installed Speedtest.net on my wife's iPhone 4S, it just went ahead and installed it--no obvious place on the App Store page for that app about any permissions. And then I was able to start it without it informing me of any permissions it needs. On the other hand, Google Play informs the user that Speedtest can "read phone status and identity, approximate location, read Google service configuration, have full network access," etc.

    The purpose of my statement was to give the OP some comfort in that the Google Play Store does try to be forthcoming with what the apps have access to, in comparison to other ecosystems, most notably Apple. I don't feel I was misleading at all.
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  20. #20  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    I am kind of on middle ground on this subject. I agree that privacy on the internet or android phone is mostly laughable, but I agree with Danny, sometimes, I just don't care anymore.
    I also agree with Alik on the key points that, I am just not doing anything that google or anyone else would even care about.
    If they are reading my messages, they more than likely think I am insane and have decided to spy on someone else instead.

    I do like the privacy Apple provides, ad free me/icloud email addresses, apps start with no permissions etc but I also like google services, so by the time I put G+, Google now, Google maps etc etc on my iPhone and hand over permissions I am not really protecting myself much. I allow G+ to back up all my photos etc. I love it, its easy, I don't have to use Hard Drive space, I don't have to download software on my mac to sync pictures or music etc.

    I supposed if you really want privacy on an android phone, make a fake gmail acct. maybe only use the carrier address book, don't have a Facebook or G+ acount.
    Don't use your real name on the fake email account. Don't add any email accounts on the phone. Don't install widgets, Don't install any app that you don't absolutely Need.
    Disable every app possible that you don't need that was preinstalled, or root and freeze / delete those apps.
    Don't put your personal appointments on the calendar program. Neve use any app that needs credit card info.
    Not sure if there is a Private mode when surfing the web, but if there is, enable it permanently.

    Without anything other than Must have apps, and everything possible disabled, the worst they can see would be texts and maybe listen to your calls.

    Seems like a whole lot of trouble to me. You would be way better off with an iPhone. Once you do any of the above there is no reason to have an android phone other than screen size, which should be fixed soon as iPhone 6 is announced.

    There are many things I do not do or use on android phones that I do on iPhone.
    Like I never use my bank app on android, or sync my notes from my mac etc.
    I just don't trust the android OS like I do iOS..
    Mainly because iOS on an iPhone is actually in a Read Only partition, so it really doesn't have to worry as much about viruses and malware. (not saying android is a virus / malware playground either, just be smart)
    Last edited by mayconvert; 04-04-2014 at 02:14 AM.
    iOS and Android are BOTH great. iPhone 3, 3GS, 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 5S, LG Optimus G Pro, S3, S4, Note 3, Moto X, Nokia 520, Nokia 1520 (8.1)..
    Currently using LG G2 and iPhone 5s.
  21. #21  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Yeh, I see. Thanks for the clear up... But you would think that the best way to protect it's customers is to at least show a list of permissions upfront, instead of wasting your time downloading that - happy to see that. How long until Google allows you to finetune your permissions? Any Word?

    I think the reason I read "misleading" was the fact that you didn't state that Apple allows you to choose your permissions even though it doesn't review it in the App Store (that would be nice, btw). I prefer choosing each permission than just being able to review them...

    But you're right you were not misleading, just not upfront...
  22. #22  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alik Malix View Post
    But you're right you were not misleading, just not upfront...
    I'm going to guess that the average iPhone user probably doesn't know about digging into the permissions to select which ones to allow and which ones not to allow. Not to say that iPhone users are less tech-savvy than Android users--it's just that Android users don't have this option, and if Android did have this option, the average Android user also wouldn't know to dig into the permissions. So I would venture to say that the vast majority of iPhone users simply install all of their apps without having a clue as to what they have access to. Power users like you will know, but you probably account for about 10-20% of the user base. So is having this ability to customize permissions a good thing if most users don't really know about it or care? The way Google does it, the user is immediately confronted with these permissions, and therefore is more likely (if only by a little bit) to think about it.

    Before KitKat, there was a way to accept and reject individual permissions (App Opps), but Google stopped that ability with KitKat. Here's an article that explains why in some detail: What is App Ops, and why did Google remove it from Android? | Pocketnow

    And look, I'm not trying to fool or bamboozle or lie or anything. I'm simply stating that it is easier to review app permissions on Google Play or the Amazon Appstore than it is on the Apple App Store.
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  23. #23  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilguppy View Post
    Hi!

    In my case, I categorically refuse to use Google+, I think that's where the major privacy issues are. And I don't use Chrome either. I could be completely ignorant and deluded in the matter, though, but I do get the feeling that with these 2 out of the picture, I retain more privacy. Anyone please feel free to set me straight.
    Ditto and Ditto - and that's not cause I like you. The day Chrome wanted legal access to my camera, benignly and within privacy legislation or not; the whole concept was horrendous, along with the sneaky way of adding it to permissions knowing many became used to using only Chrome. Never liked Chrome, web or Android anyhow.
    Google+ I have disabled. I don't need artificial friends and invites, and I will find my own restaurants and concert tickets, thank you.
    Madd54, 00 Conspiracy Avenue, Paranoid City.
    (OK - B. Diddy and others had good points.)
    Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk Pro
    I know nothing.
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  24. #24  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Diddy View Post
    I'm going to guess that the average iPhone user probably doesn't know about digging into the permissions to select which ones to allow and which ones not to allow. Not to say that iPhone users are less tech-savvy than Android users--it's just that Android users don't have this option, and if Android did have this option, the average Android user also wouldn't know to dig into the permissions. So I would venture to say that the vast majority of iPhone users simply install all of their apps without having a clue as to what they have access to. Power users like you will know, but you probably account for about 10-20% of the user base. So is having this ability to customize permissions a good thing if most users don't really know about it or care? The way Google does it, the user is immediately confronted with these permissions, and therefore is more likely (if only by a little bit) to think about it.

    Before KitKat, there was a way to accept and reject individual permissions (App Opps), but Google stopped that ability with KitKat. Here's an article that explains why in some detail: What is App Ops, and why did Google remove it from Android? | Pocketnow

    And look, I'm not trying to fool or bamboozle or lie or anything. I'm simply stating that it is easier to review app permissions on Google Play or the Amazon Appstore than it is on the Apple App Store.

    I agree with everything you said. especially the fact that most users android or ios do not know the capabilities of their devices to protect yourself. Thanks for the reply. And I know you were not trying to lie or anything. It's just that stirring the pot make people take notice and maybe, just maybe dig deeper than their Facebook app and get to know their options. Apple will ask you pun installing to verify SOME permissions before you use it (I put the word "some" because you're right that some permissions sometimes need to be handled manually within settings, which like u said many will not know about).

    I always recommend folks that have phone setup concerns to go to Apple Store and have it all explained and tuned to their concerns/preferences. Simple toggles on iOS or Android make a huge difference to those that are concerned like the OP.
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  25. #25  

    Default Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alik Malix View Post
    I could care less about what information is being collected about me on the net, I trust Google, as well as Apple - they're too big to car about my little things... I'm not a criminal, nor am I a terrorist, or in a gang, or a secret anti-government cell. I obey the law. ...
    My point would be that information is allowed to be collected about you via computers. Computer information is collated and dissected by people. Many people's information collated by many poorly paid people.
    I know my paper medical records have been incorrect and 'doctored' for a long time. (No offense to you doc B. Diddy - different country here, different system). Nothing psychiatric or a psychological I should add. (I think! )

    Right now you are a law abiding, nothing to hide, clean living citizen (we can also only take your word - ha ha). However, right now you could be listed as a person to watch. If some security/other organisation were able or were asked to further use Google to assess the movements and patterns of an individual or organisation, they may have inadvertently been directed to you in error. Talk about a spiralling chain of events and reactions caused by someone or some program taking a wrong turn early in the process.
    Google and similar leaves us all vulnerable, and truth is we likely would never know what incompetence caused our possible downfall in the first place.
    I don't take this too seriously or worry about it myself. I'm just extending the logic, as I see it.
    We don't need personalised recommendations based on our patterns. There should be an outcry and rethink of take it or leave it permission systems.
    Good point about Apple I wasn't aware of. And thanks to the poster about using an anonymous ID on Google, though I doubt one could hide all the links to one's self.

    Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by Madd54; 04-04-2014 at 04:27 PM.
    I know nothing.
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