Is Android a privacy nightmare?

OH ryan

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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.
 
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Evilguppy

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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. ;)
 

B. Diddy

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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.
 

Golfdriver97

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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
 

nelschroeder

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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
 

nessinhaw

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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
 

JeffDenver

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Re: 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.
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.
 

Vsweety

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Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

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.
 

nessinhaw

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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
 

xchange

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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. :eek:
 

JeffDenver

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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. :eek:
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.
 

xchange

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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.
 

JeffDenver

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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.
 

xchange

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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.
 

buggerlugz

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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!
 

Danny X-Ray

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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
 

buggerlugz

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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?
 

Alik Malix

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Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

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...
 

B. Diddy

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Re: is Android a privacy nightmare?

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.
 

mayconvert

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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)
 
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