Android apps are tracking your every move and there's currently no way to stop them

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/09/android-apps-are-tracking-your.html

Whatever happened to the rumoured Linux phone? Did I just dream that or was it a thing?

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There’s always the old phone in the used crisp packet trick…

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The only difference with iOS is that you have no way of knowing that this is happening. At least security researchers can look at the logs and source code of Android.

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there’s currently no way to stop them

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s-l640

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Gasp - that looks like a newer version of my phone! :laughing:

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I use an Android phone with no gmail (FastMail instead), no FB, no amazon, a privacy/blocking browser (Firefox Klar), no google play–applications from Fdroid. Location usually turned off. It’s still Android, though.

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Unfortunately, most of the recent flip phones I’ve seen have been basically smartphones with a (sometimes gimped) version of Android underneath. Some of them even have a touchscreen, for that matter.

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You don’t have to install any apps on Android though. And if you do, you can always take a bit of time to check how shady their developers appear.
Basically treat it like any other computer. You wouldn’t go running any old program you downloaded off the internet on your laptop, so don’t do the same with apps on your phone. If an app is promising something for FREE! it’s probably no good.

This isn’t a solution for the average person I know, but for someone reasonably technical like Cory it should be easy enough.

There’s a Linux kernel running underneath Android for what it’s worth.

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Privacy is dead. Realize that. Internalize it. Everything we do and say is monitored unless we hide in caves.

How to deal with reality? Maybe hope that TOO MUCH data is collected, so nefarious AIs are overwhelmed. Or do safe, boring stuff so you’re not worth noticing. My Samsung Android phone and tablet may report on my many medical appointments and WalMart visits. Have fun with that, kids.

Billions worldwide have traded privacy for convenience. How many of you are willing to abandon computers, cellphones, smartwatches, credit/debit cards, modern vehicles, all the interactive toys and tools that reveal much about you? Have you an IoT dildo?

We’ll soon be in a Vernor Vinge world with dust-particle spybots recording every fucking thing that happens. Depend on it. Shrug and accept the inevitable.

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In a world where tech is controlled by private corporations that consider their source code proprietary, owned property, and that notion is defended by governments…then yeah, you’re right. It, of course, doesn’t have to be that way. We are letting it happen that way. It’s partly a sad, inevitable collision of hundreds of years of the “ownership delusion” colliding with modern technological advancements. We are, collectively, of course, in control, and ultimately accountable. Of course, getting to the real root and bottom of it all is probably too much for us, b/c we will have to face facts, one of them being that we are supporting modern versions of slavery thru the use of all this cheap-ass hardware.

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Depending on the model, though, ripping the preloads out of a phone can be a fair challenge; and those aren’t bastions of respectability.

The problem would be markedly easier if there were any actually-clean baseline to start from, that you just have to avoid compromising, rather than things typically starting out as a bit of a disaster that you have to pick through; if the cryptographic integrity bits will let you.

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My recent (actually now about three years old) LG was mostly good about being able to get rid of the bloatware. However, there was one thing that I wanted to nuke from orbit: something called “com.facebook.appmanager”. Unfortunately, I had to settle for disabling it since it couldn’t be fucking removed. Really, making something from goddamn Facebook non-removable?! At least the Facebook app was removable.

My first smartphone, a Samsung, was worse in that regard, with a shit-ton of bloat that could only be removed by replacing their ROM with CyanogenMod. Too bad CM eventually imploded.

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I’m probably going to hell for it; but I’ve definitely had “nuclear war would be bad, but at least cover the area where Samsung firmware comes from” go through my head at least once is response to the ominous noises coming out of the Korean peninsula periodically. In fairness, I think I’ve got an analogous thought for pretty much all likely nuclear flashpoints, including the ones I was living in at the time, so it’s not Korea specific.

There are two that are in development. One will be rather expensive:


And the other one will be cheap (probably about 150$, I’ll definitely buy one if that’s true):

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