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Concerns about Google and privacy

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by scubafan, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. scubafan

    scubafan Lurker
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    Hi, I've been seriously thinking about switching my Treo Pro for the new Motorola Pro+ when it comes out for GSM. While not a major upgrade in performance, the 1Ghz CPU should be snappier than the 512mHz I have now. The Gorilla Glass display is VERY welcome!

    The main reason I want to switch is so that I can get access to more of the USEFUL apps like Gasbuddy or Flightwatch. The concern is, with Google being behind Android I worry that my personal data will be totally compromised! For example, when I tried to update the Google maps on my phone NOW, it first deleted the working copy I had and wouldn't allow the new one to install unless I agreed to a total lack of privacy! It wanted to stay on, connect my private cell number with ANY form of marketing and allow all my travels to be used for marketing as well. I DEEPLY resented that, so now I'm without the use of an app that was preinstalled WITHOUT me having to accept a "lack-of-privacy" policy.

    The terms say: I consent to the collection, use, sharing and transfer of my data including voice and location data. In addition I have to agree to their mobile privacy terms (which I'm not allowed to post here) before I can use it.

    That says:However, if you use an Android-powered device, Google will associate your device id with your Google Account in order to provide services, such as sync functionality for your Google email and contacts.

    we record your phone number. We record your phone number when you send it to us; ask us to remember it; or make a call or send a text message or SMS to or from Google. If you ask us to remember your phone number, we will associate your phone number with your Google Account, or, if you do not have a Google Account, with some other similar account ID. We often generate this account ID based on your device and hardware IDs, so if you change your device or hardware, you will have to re-associate this new device or hardware with your account before we can authenticate you.

    So, what are my options? I do NOT use Gmail, and didn't like that it also says it will keep track of all my contacts. That means whether THEY like it or not, Google now knows everything about them too...

    Has anyone here explored these concerns?

    Thanks in advance to anyone with input!
     

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  2. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    1. It appears that you cant make a Google/Gmail account without giving your phone number, so no way around that. However, without a Google account, you have no access to Android Market, so many apps will not be available for you. You just have to accept that part, your phone number will be given to Google, unless you try to make one now. AFAIK its not yet being rolled out everywhere, so some places can still make a GMail account without giving a phone number. This I think is needed due to Google Voice.

    2. Of course Google maps asks for sending out your location because it has a feature called Latitude. If you enable it, your friends who are on latitude too can see where you are during certain times depending on how you set it. But if you do not enable Latitude, there would be no problem anyway.

    3. Depending on how you set your phone, Google can not keep track of your contacts. You can disable sync, or set your phone to use the contacts as phone only contacts and not as Gmail contacts (default).
     
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  3. scubafan

    scubafan Lurker
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    1. I'll see if I can make a google account without actually using Gmail...

    2. I understand google maps needing to know where I am to give me directions, but can I disable latitude and still use the maps/directions? I have ZERO interest in being someone that tells the world where I am and what I'm doing minute by minute. Heck, I don't even use ANY social media now, why would I start??

    3. I use Outlook for my contacts, calendar, etc. Will I be able to sync my phone to Outlook?? I do NOT want to use an online calendar...

    Thanks for the quick and well thought out reply!
     
  4. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    2. Latitude is disabled by default, so there would be no issue on that.

    3. If you go Motorola, this would be a problem. Other companies like Samsung/Sony/HTC give out a software with their phones allowing you to sync to Outlook with no problems (except that tasks are not supported here, as Android does not have a native task manager). Motorola does not. You either have to use cloud sync or buy CompanionLink for $50 (if i remember correctly) to get to be able to sync a motorola device. I have no experience on other brands, but on the Samsung software, it already assumes that since you did not use cloud, you want your data offline, so it syncs to the phones a form of data that is "unsyncable" natively to Google online as the data will be placed in a separate memory/folder inaccessible to Google services (this the "My" set. My contacts, My Calendar and Notes are not syncable to Google on Samsungs).
     
  5. scubafan

    scubafan Lurker
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    Has anyone ever tried the companion link software? Will it work well with outlook and the Windows mobile device center so I can sync & save everything?
    Does anyone else know if there is any way to use an Android phone WITHOUT giving all my personal information away to Google?? Even with my current Palm Treo Pro I've run into issues! When I used the google maps a while back, it said I needed an update. To do so it deleted my original copy and the new one will NOT work unless I allow it to give google my location at ALL times!

    In addition, I do NOT use Gmail and don't want to be forced to give google my real name to add to the database they now build across SO many platforms. More articles out say they mine all your texts and voice calls for more "personalization" data. Many apps seem to give GPS data out even when you do NOT give permission as well.

    All I want is to be able to use an OS more modern than the Winmobile 6.1 so I can use the gasbuddy app! Am I doomed to be stuck unless I want to give my life away to google???

    I planned to use a misdirection Gmail account originally, but from what I can tell, even if I want to only use FREE apps I'd need to give Google my real name, cell number and credit card info! Am I wrong about needing all that data just to use free apps?
     
  6. Mostly Harmless

    Mostly Harmless Android Expert
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    Scuba, don't take this the wrong way, but you might be a bit paranoid. Google will need a certain amount of data for your phone to work correctly. You won't have to give your location out all the time, latitude can be turned off. You can also disable your gps anytime you want and use it for whenever. Gmail, Google voice, Google Music, Contacts, etc...all add to the Android experience. Take google contacts. Everything is sync'ed to the cloud. When I get a new phone I sign in and poof my contacts are automatically there. Not to mention I can reach my contacts from any computer. Same with google music, everything is there when you sign into your account, it's pretty awesome.

    This is my 3rd year with an Android phone and 6th year with gmail and it has only improved my life, not destroyed it. I have never worried about my contact information going anywhere. I have three credit cards assigned to google checkout, no ill effects. Although, maybe I have been brainwashed....In order to use a phone with Android you will have to commit a few pieces of information to Google, it's the price that me and about 150 million other users pay.
     
  7. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    To use free apps, you don't have to give Google anything. You can make a Google account with a false name and address, and you don't have to give credit card info unless you want to buy an app (my sister's Google account has NO credit card data at all).

    Besides, doing all that to just try to get away from Google is pure unnecessary paranoia. If you're that afraid of Google you probably shouldn't even be thinking of buying an Android phone. Androids aren't really for everybody, and you may find yourself happier and feeling "more secure" with Apple.
     
  8. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert
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    If you use Windows you have much bigger security worries than Android or Google.

    Just do as chanchan05 suggested - create a dummy Gmail account and turn off sync. Problem solved.

    I've been on the 'net since '84 and used Android since v1.0. But if you Google my real name you still get nothing.
     
  9. aysiu

    aysiu Android Expert
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    Also, technically, you can use Android without a Google account (fake or real information)... the functionality will just be hampered a bit, and they can still track information about you if you're using their services (Maps, Navigation, Search, etc.).

    But why do you distrust Google any more than your mobile carrier? At least here in the States, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile knows far more about what you do with your phone and where you are than Google knows about your use.
     
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  10. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast
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    Great. So instead of Google, you're just giving all your data to Apple now. :rolleyes:

    By the way, you only need a Google account if you want access to Google Play (nee Android Market). If you can find the apks you want from alternate sources (e.g. Amazon Appstore, etc), then you can certainly skip linking a Google account. Caveat, if you just install apps from random links posted in forums, I think you might be opening yourself to more headaches than if you just create a Google account with fake information.
     

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