How to prevent data-mining

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  1. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    Harrooo! Here's on for the tin-foil hat crowd and the Android experts.
    With the new Google privacy policy coming up: what steps can we, the users, take to avoid as much data mining as possible? I have already made some changes to my settings and switched some apps. But I would be interested to know if I have missed anything or if it is usefull at all. :)
    And perhaps this is useful to other users who feel the same.

    -Stopped syncing to the Google servers.
    -Use Boat Browser instead of stock, private browsing enabled
    -Use Duckduckgo instead of Google search.
    -Opted out of everything I could opt out of in my Google account.
    -Jorte Calender instead of stock calender (it is prettier too!)
    -I have also got rid of the Facebook and Twitter apps as they were way too greedy for permissions for my taste and use the mobile websites instead. They offer the same and sometimes more functionality and I can live without directly uploading a picture to Facebook from my galery.

    Does anyone have more tips on how to make using your Android more private?


  2. UssjTrunks

    UssjTrunks Well-Known Member

    You can't.

    KENNECTED Well-Known Member

    Question? if you're going to go through all this, what is the point of having an Android phone? Doing the above defeats the purpose and function of the phone?

    Since you raised this I'd like to ask, do you clearly understand the privacy policy?
  4. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Stop using it, sell it and get a Galaxy Player or iPod connected to a dummy account to use with a basic feature phone?

    Seriously, as long as you have an email account in there for emails, you're still on the grid. Or having the ability to connect to the internet at all. If you're this scared, maybe you shouldn't use a smartphone at all, or just turn off data and never connect to the internet using your phone.
  5. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    I first want to inform you that my hat is merely a fashion statement. I don't believe the government, Google or the CIA can read my brainwaves. They simply can't generate the power necessary to overcome the alien dampening fields emanating from Area 51. ;)

    Seriously, the "new" Google privacy policies are not all that much different from the existing ones. They've simplified the language and consolidated the policy across most products.

    While UssjTrunks' response might seem a bit of smart alec comment, he/she is essentially correct. If you use Android, at some level, Google will have some information about you. It's the nature of modern networks and information systems.

    What Google is doing with that information is what people need to be concerned about. For now, it is relatively benign and actually does go a long way to weed out irrelevancies. But, I think it's a great idea to let them know that we are concerned about our privacy and will be paying attention if they step over the line.

    EDIT: As a note to everybody, many people are seriously concerned about this with or without foundation. Let's try to educate rather than criticize. :D
    9to5cynic, Cryssie and KENNECTED like this.
  6. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    If you use Facebook and Twitter it's game over anyway. You've already forfeited your privacy.
  7. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    Whoah! Hold your horses!
    Let me rephrase: "How can I keep data-mining to a minimum without compromising too much of Android functionalities?"
    I am perfectly aware that staying of the web is a Utopia in this day and age and that is not my intention, but I do not feel comfortable with one company having so much personal information while I feel the measures they take to ensure my privacy are very vague. ("appropriate measures" if I recall correctly. What does that mean?)
    Why I have an Android phone? It makes calls, texts, takes pictures, records rehearsals, shows me my favorite websites, keeps my appointments, takes notes and tunes my guitar. I like all that functionality in one neat little package. I have very little interest in cloud computing and I sure as hell do not need Google to remind me of my appointments based on my location and traffic.
  8. surgerush

    surgerush Well-Known Member

    + 1
  9. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    I'll bite.
    What is the purpose and function of an Android phone?

    There is "purpose and function" and there is how I decide to use a service or application. If I decide to purchase a cd and use it as a frisbee, that would be weird but it would be my own damned business.
    I purchased an Android phone because it suited my needs and how I use it is my own choice. I am under no obligation to use every service Google wants to provide to me. As a user I should have the option to opt out of the Google Services that require a large amount of personal data to be stored on their servers if I choose so. That is my own personal choice and it changed nothing about how I use my phone. With the steps I have taken so far I have made NO compromises whatsoever.
  10. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    Amen - I do the same. I want a good mobile planetarium and a PDA that makes phone calls and texts. Maps is also gone on my phone. I prefer printed directions. I also got TMO to turn off voice mail. (missed calls works.)

    I'm paying for the service - so answering the phone or not is my perogative. We have no landline.

    The other thing - do the same if you use a computer. If you use Firefox, Better Privacy and NoScript help. Just because I happen to have an Android phone, there is no reason I have to bother with anything Google on the computer. I can keep the Gmail addy for those that spam. I get all mail through Thunderbird anyway.

    Nowhere in the phone manual or the carrier's contract is there a statement you have to use anything. If you pay for data and don't use it - the carrier has no beef.
    Cryssie likes this.
  11. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    I have discovered the wonderful world of myphoneexplorer and I must say: works like a dream! :D It does all the syncing I could wish for and more.
    I did have to go back to the stock calender app with a different widget, but I am very pleased with my setup now.
    Happily in sync with mozilla lightning on my laptop.

    I will try to restate my question a little:
    What steps can a user take to stay as private as possible in Android? I have been doing some searching for answers and believe it or not, there are many Android users who have inclination to enter the cloud but their questions mostly receive the same answer as mine did.
    And I know that Android is not made for that and Google wants us all in the Cloud and that's all jolly good but there must be some steps we can take to enjoy Android without all our personal info on the Google servers if we don't want that. What are nice alternatives for Cloud functionalities? (like myphoneexplorer etc)

    *bump* :)
  12. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog Moderator

    This is my take on the whole "Privacy Issue"

    First we have to understand that in the United States Privacy is not Protected by the Constitution of the United States. So many people have the wrong impression of what our rights are. Most go by what someone has told them instead of looking it up for themselves.

    Ok so worrying about one company having so much of your "Private" information is kinda of like worrying about nuclear war. You can't control how much of your information is out there. If you buy anything there is a "Public Record" of it. I can find out how much you paid for your car, House, RV, or any Loan you have ever applied for. With that information I can find out how much you get paid. What your credit rating is like and so on. (Ok so maybe I can't personally but anyone who does can) Your Street address can be found from those same documents. Also since a lot of those companies request your SSN That is accessible as well. Also If you have ever been arrested, Convicted, or even given a speeding ticket, that information is Public Record as well. So Now one has the ability to find out your entire "Criminal Record" Any Volunteering activities you are involved in are also part of the Public Record. Those types of Agencies are required to keep and Provide those records as necessary.

    Oh as far as 1 company having so much information you should think bigger. Every Bank you have ever applied for a loan has all this information as well. Oh yeah Employers also have all this information. So the idea of 1 company having all my information sounds much better than the several hundred or so that do have all that information.

    So really I think that being Paranoid makes one stick out even more than those who don't worry about it. Most people who try to hide things have a reason. Privacy is rarely the real issue as we don't really have it anyways. Yes we may be able to keep certain bits of information away from some people however we can't keep it away from everyone. And since we can't keep it from everyone those who are willing to do a bit of research can find out anything you try to hide.

    If you feel like blowing chunks go ahead. Just remember when the abyss looks into you it sees all.
    Crashdamage, chanchan05 and KENNECTED like this.
  13. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    I agree with the above post saying that the whole "privacy" thing on your phone is overblown. All the relevant data is already out there in the hands of other people apart from you. The only way to get true privacy on your details is to go to some mountain and live like a hill billy. Your call logs are known by your phone companies, maybe they don't record the calls themselves but they have records of who you called and when, even maybe from where. They can remotely remove or install apps to your phone as well if you're connected to the internet on your phone. They supposedly have the ability to remotely deactivate the device as well (I sort of remember reading that in terms and conditions).

    As to the question on how be as private as possible, simply turn off background data and do not access the internet from your phone. What alternatives to cloud services? Depends on what cloud service. There is no non cloud alternative to dropbox or sugarsync to share and send files for example. The closest you can get is probably to just copy paste straight from your computer (early 2000's flashback!). Apart from that, MyPhoneExplorer or the alternatives (Companionlink, Kies, HTC Sync, PC Companion, etc) are your only options AFAIK.
    argedion and Crashdamage like this.
  14. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I should have made myself more clear.
    I am not comfortable with one company controlling that much of my personal information while their primary source of income is the distribution of said personal information. The whys and the hows of this are not relevant. I do not want to provide Google with my phone contacts, location and personal schedule. Please respect that.
    Point the second: I am from the Netherlands and the right to privacy is in the Dutch constitution.

    I have read back my previous posts and although english is not my first language, I think that nowhere I came across as a Paranoid, Schizo, Alien-believing lunatic who thinks Google is the coming skynet.
    My question was very simple: "What steps can a user take to fully enjoy Android outside of the Google servers?" I have posted it in various forms and shapes and sizes and I was hoping to build a little knowledge database for myself and all the other Android users who search the web in vain for the same answers. Yes: in vain because the basic response they meet mirrors the general tone in this topic.
    I appreciate this question may invoke a knee-jerk reaction in the people who love the cloud but to be blunt: I really do not care about your opinion.
    I am always interested in a constructive debate that brings real facts to the table but accusing me of being a paranoid madwoman who probably has something to hide lacks respect and frankly just pisses me off.

    May I now respectfully request we skip the "zomg-y-r-u-so-paranoid?!" accusations?
  15. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    You don't have to use Google for anything except to create a Google account so you can access the Market.

    Otherwise, general security/privacy guidelines:
    1. Do not use Gmail. Or Hotmail, Yahoo mail or any other free webmail service.

    2. Do not sync contacts or any other info on your phone.

    3. Do not use Google Chrome for Android or home. This is key. Firefox, with the right extensions, offers the best security and privacy I'm aware of.

    4. Do not use Facebook, Google+, MySpace etc. or Twitter.

    5. For cloud storage, if you must, only Dropbox synced to a secure Linux machine.

    6. Do not use Windows for anything.
    Cryssie likes this.
  16. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    My Service Provider is bound by dutch laws concerning privacy, like all companies that hold personal data. Our laws also state that a company is not allowed to request information they do not need to run their business. I cannot find anything about them being able to remotely disable my phone in the terms and conditions and I can guarantee that would create a riot in our Chamber of Commons. (Funfact: Our government requested Google to delay their new privacy policy, which they refused ofcourse)

    Also I do not expect complete anonymity, I am too much of an internet lover for that and I do not have the technical know-how to use VPN's etc.
    I just want to keep certain information of the web. That's all.

    I am thrilled with MyPhoneExplorer!
    I tried Samsung Kies when I updated my boyfriends Ace and I thought it was a piece of crap software. Very slow and big.
    SE PC companion is ok-ish for media synchronisation but it has no option to sync/backup anything else which is a big flaw imo.
    A combination of MediaGO and MyPhoneExplorer seems to work all nice and peachy for me. :)
    I am open to more brilliant ideas!
  17. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    Honest question - What has changed with the new privacy policy that you find concerning? It seems like you don't have any real issues with the current policy. What is it about the new policy that is alarming to you?
  18. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    I think therein lies the rub, to paraphrase the bard. Data collection on networks is ubiquitous. It's done for many technical reasons that are necessary for maintenance and customer access. Most of this is never seen by the end user and is of little value to any other business. The problem is that other data can also be collected using the same methods that is of value. Most of what I think you are talking about are patterns of behavior used to profile people to target them for directed marketing. The other items of personal information like name, address, etc. are public and easily attainable.

    So, in order to block the collection of data, you need to be very specific about which data you want blocked, or the recommendations will only be "turn everything off".

    BTW, I apologize if you thought we were making light of your concerns. I understand that some people take their privacy very seriously. Unfortunately modern technology does more to compromise our privacy than it does to protect it.
    Cryssie likes this.
  19. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    Thank you!
    According to you I'm halfway there. :) Could you elaborate on why one should not use Windows?

    I did not post it yet, but when I was looking for information I found some very legitimate reasons for wanting to sync offline besides my own.
    There was a sailor who frequently spend weeks away from an internet connection but did want to keep his phone and laptop synced.
    There was somebody who had his business calender in Thunderbird lightning (which is not compatible with Google calender if I understood correctly)
    And there was someone who simply had confidential info in his calender.

    We're not all loonies. :eek:
  20. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    To be honest, it is mostly a gut-thing.
    I feel my phone feels to me a step more private then my laptop and it is one thing to have the Android people able to acces my phone info but another to have it accessible by the Android people, the Youtube people, the Gmail people, etc. It is the difference between drying your underwear on your attic or in your front yard, if that makes any sense.
    On some level, if people are able to reach you on a cellphone that you carry with you all the time it is an "invasion of privacy" and it is a sign of trust if I give somebody my phone number. I would like to treat the phone numbers other people have given to me responsibly and that includes not putting them in a place I do not feel comfortable with.

    And I must say: one of the "cool examples" hit a little too close to home. Bluntly put: it is none of Google's business where I am and where I am going. If I put an appointment in the calender it is for my personal use.
    Technobaby that I am, I am not a fan of services that allow you to "turn the brain of" :eek:
    And yes, it is not rational but I am a silly woman. Sue me. :rolleyes:

    Aha! Thanks. :)
    Well, as I pointed out before we have different laws here concerning privacy, the right to privacy is in our constitution. Databases containing personal info are only accessible by companies who need it and only under strict rules. I am not in a telephone or address guide. If you are interested: Dutch Data Protection Authority
    So my personal information being public is in fact quite an alarming idea to me.
    The way I have my system set up: I block ads, trackers and third party cookies. My Gmail contains no personal email communication so Google is welcome to whatever stats they can fish out of that.
    My main points are my contacts and calender entries. Those are too personal. Text messages and media (pictures etc) can also stay happily between me and my computer.

    I was indeed getting more than a little irritated, but I am starting to suspect that it is mostly a culture clash.
    Thanks again!
  21. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog Moderator

    I was not calling you paranoid or anything else. If you took it that way then I will apologize for not making myself more clear. Only was stating a fact that "Paranoid Activity" makes one look suspicous and would cause those interested partys to look deeper.

    As far as being anywhere in the world like the Netherlands then Google if operating there would have to abide by the laws of the Nation it is conducting business in. So the "Privacy Statement" cannot possibly take into consideration every Law in the world. However Corporations still have to abide by those laws. In the end it is all out there anyway. As far as Cloud goes. Understand how "Skynet" works. It only holds the information that I put on it. However If I am on any network in the world rather my laptop, desktop, phone, or tablet, then I am open to having my "Personal Information" Gathered by those that wish to do so. You don't have to be on the cloud to have that kind of stuff gathered. Its being on a Network period that makes us vulnerable. "Skynet" works buy the network. Cloud is a Storage facility that is as safe as any postcard you send.

    No Matter which network your on or who's phone your using we are all giving our private data to someone.

    I do want to reinterate however that I am sorry if you took anything I said as an attack on you personally. It was not meant to be that way.
    Cryssie likes this.
  22. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm still confused then. Is the current privacy policy objectionable to you? If not, what is it about the new policy that has changed and become objectionable. Google has always had this information about you. Nothing has changed now. They're not sharing it with 3rd parties (which would be objectionable for sure), they're just sharing it with themselves. They already know your phone number. They already know the names of all the people in your address book. They already can read your calendar. None of that has changed.

    I guess I'm not one to do things just on my gut. I'm one of those people who needs a reason to do something.
  23. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    Thank you and accepted. :) I apologize myself for being a little blunt. (maybe I was jumping to conclusions. :eek:)
    Hmn, I agree that that may be a logical response but personally: I just feel I am acting on my right to stay private/anonymous where that is possible.

    This is a really interesting question. I must admit: I have not delved too deeply into the finer things in the laws and policies, but to my best knowledge a company can only ask for the personal information they need to run their business. I wonder if they are allowed to ask for information for a service I choose not to use (like Calendersync). Should they make everything opt-in by default?
    I should try to find out how this works..... *ponder*
    I do know that the new policy is officially under review from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. I'm curious what they'll say.

    You can take all the security measures in the world and in the end your confidential information can leak out because staff tossed out an old computer without wiping the harddrive. (true story. really!)
    It is monstrously difficult to stay completely hidden unless you are some amazing hacker, in which case it may just be a little difficult. :p
    In the end I try not to worry about the things I cannot control and be diligent about what I can control. I cannot control if somebody hacks me but I can be careful about where I put my private information and read the fine print before I click install. The rule is "need to know". Does Google need to know my appointments? Nope. (If it were encrypted, I would reconsider but to the best of my knowledge it is not)

    Apology accepted. ;) *passes a cookie*
  24. Cryssie

    Cryssie Well-Known Member

    The only rational reason I can offer here is this:
    Google has almost 33000 employees. I cannot find the numbers broken down by department, but you can probably guess where I am going with this.

    And I do many things on my gut. ;)
  25. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I can't follow you. But I can't follow many women. :D

    I'm not concerned w/Google having my information. Your ISP knows way, way, way more about you than Google does. Your cell provider knows more about you than Google does. It knows who you call, when you call them and where you are when you call them as well as how long you talk to them. On a privacy scale there are many places that have more information on you than Google does. Heck, the grocery store I go to offers a discount card. You scan it, you get discounts on certain grocery items. I guarantee you they're tracking what groceries I buy. They know what I eat. So on a privacy scale, Google doesn't have nearly the information that other places do.
    Crashdamage likes this.

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