Attempting to maintain a modicum of privacy with an Android phone?

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  1. bareyataghan

    bareyataghan New Member


    I am new to the forums, but just now read : & some of the stickies.

    My main issue is that I want to use some applications, but it seems that everything (including the bloatware stock apps like Facebook, Gmail, Youtube), wants to take, read, use my personal data, phone calls or other private information.

    I'm sure this issue has already been beaten to death, but I had a hard time finding posts about it. Is there any way to make one's android phone more private? I know that reading and declining applications that seek permissions they don't need is one way, but I'd venture to say that eliminates almost all of the free applications, and even a massive amount of the paid (I just looked at several paid applications I might want, yet they all think it's fair to read my phone logs and personal data).

    My Samsung Galaxy SII is an awesome piece of technology, but I want it to be my tool, not a tool of others used to spy on me, or otherwise take advantage of me or my contacts.


    I love my android phone but want more privacy. Is there any way to easily find legit applications which don't need excessive permissions? Is there any way to eliminate stock applications which constantly feed on my data? (I'm guessing rooting).


  2. !on

    !on Well-Known Member

    You're being paranoid.

    Anyway, most things that require data, require data. Android phones are great for having these things called "widgets", or "toggles", or "widget toggles". You turn on WiFi / 3g / GPS whenever you want them. You put this widget wherever you like on your screen.

    Not entirely sure what it is about youtube you're afraid of, or gmail. You run these apps when you want to watch videos, or access your email. Turn sync off / turn data off when you're not using them. Turn off WiFi or 3g when you don't need internet. It's quite simple really.

    I'm not sure why you'd get a google phone if these things terrify you. I don't even have a facebook account, & I suspect lot's of Android owners don't either.

    Apps have permissions simply because they need to interact with other functions or apps in your phone, ie: messaging apps need to access contacts, etc etc etc. Just use your discretion when downloading apps, if it doesn't look reasonable for an app to be accessing something it has no business doing, then don't have it! Also, read the reviews from people who have used them.

    TLDR; turn off data when not needed. I do this mostly to conserve battery, not because of the things you're afraid of ;) .
  3. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Because of their features. They need those permissions to work. Lets take Facebook for example:

    " take, read, use my personal data, phone calls or other private information "

    Facebook can be used to check-in (location data; private information), post pictures (take, read, use personal data), can sync to contacts (take, read, use personal data;private information; phone calls) among other things. Basically those features already explain the need to grant those permissions.

    Granted, even if the app has those permissions, if you choose it to not sync to contacts or check-in, there won't be a problem. But its there should you choose to.
  4. jefboyardee

    jefboyardee Well-Known Member

  5. jabalong

    jabalong New Member

    How do I do this with Facebook? I go into:

    Settings > Account & Sync > Facebook

    But under Update schedule, there's no option not to update.

    Otherwise options are just Sync now or Remove account.

    So how do I access Facebook on my Android, without it integrating into my accounts and showing up everywhere (Calendar, Gmail contact list, etc).

    I too am a new Android user and like the original poster struggling with the privacy issues. The problem I see is that everything gets mixed up, with worlds colliding.

    Take Facebook, I only use it to access some hobby groups, not to share my whole life on it. So I just want to access it as I would a web forum. But seems like if I try to access it through browser, it defaults to the Facebook app. And the Facebook app in terms merges into my general Android account.

    So as a result I get Facebook contacts birthdays showing up in my Calendar. Worse, the phone merges my "real life" profile (ie, email address) with my Facebook account, so that when I use Gmail it lists my Facebook user name (with just a nickname like on other forums) with my regular email which uses my real name - worlds colliding!

    Yes, I know Facebook wants people to use their real names, but plenty of people use it with nicknames as I do. The point is that there should be a way with Android to keep my Facebook usage separate from my regular phone profile.

    Is there a way to do this?
  6. jabalong

    jabalong New Member

    Damn, found another example that I'll need to sort out now.

    Logged in to on my PC and notice that Gmail has taken all the contacts from my Android People list and imported them into Gmail webmail. Argh!

    I don't save any contact info in webmail as it's succeptible to hacking. So how do I remove all this from Gmail webmail and ensure that it it doesn't copy the info back over from my phone again?
  7. jabalong

    jabalong New Member

    Well I solved my second problem...

    Settings > Account & sync > Auto Sync > Turn On

    Settings > Account & sync > Google (Gmail) > Click on green button > Uncheck all Sync options except Gmail

    Was then able to log into Gmail online and delete all contacts - have to break the above link first apparently, otherwise it will then sync and delete all contacts from your phone!

    Now if I can just figure out how to put a firewall around my Facebook profile on my phone...

    EDIT: Doh! Even though I broke the connection it seemed, Gmail did sync my contacts and thus deleted them all off my phone. Wonderful!

    Fortunately I'd backed them up first, so reimported them. Guess I am giving all my Android contacts on to Gmail webmail unless someone can explain how I can keep my phone contacts away from Gmail.
  8. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Specific instructions on how to keep contacts off Gmail is dependent on the phone model itself. Different manufacturers have different methods in doing that, because the sync to Gmail is the default Android procedure.

    As for Facebook:
    Contacts - Go to Facebook>menu button>settings>sync contacts>remove facebook data.
    Calendar - Go to Calendar>Menu>Settings>Calendars>uncheck Facebook Calendar

    Your phone acts weird though. I can access Facebook independently the app via browser if I want. I can even have two different accounts logged in at the same time.

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