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First Smartphone observations and questions..

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Rook98101, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Rook98101

    Rook98101 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Recently bought a Moto G (XT1045) and a little surprised what is going on. Is it my imagination or is everything about this device geared toward Google collecting every possible bit of my personal information it can?

    Is this what all smartphone users have come to accept? Honestly am afraid to turn it on...lol. Why did I buy a smartphone in the first place. Wanted to be mobile...reading the news, surfing my favorite forums, tide and weather boating apps. Calling and texting would be okay too.

    1st big question is how can one (legally) stop the constant stream of updates? Pretty sure KitKat 4.4 updated without me doing anything from 4.4.2. Resetting to Factory spec still leaves 4.4.4. Have downloaded a couple free apps like "Addon Detector" and "Permission Manager". Besides being overwhelming not sure these tools will really help secure my phone. Am afraid to purchase anything that ask for my cc #. Does everyone use the Store or Amazon and make all their personal info available to the Cloud?

    All this Linkin and Sync-in has got me rethinking. Is this why people root their phones...do custom ROMS solve all these issues?

    Finally (for now), Are all apps written by someone in a basement somewhere? Meaning... without support? Why does a forum surfing app need permission to make in app purchases?? Forums I visit with ads usually take you off to another url to make a purchase.

    Am sure this device will find many other uses if I can get past the security aspects. Just need to get control of it before it controls me! All comments welcome...if sarcastic or mean at least be funny:)
     



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  2. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    You control what information you give. You can choose to not give certain information if you want. You can not give it your address or your phone number or even your real name. You can make a dummy Google account named "John Doe" and use that for your Google related stuff.

    Anyway, as far as I know, the phone can't auto-update the OS from 4.4.2 to 4.4.4 without you pressing an "ok". It will show up with a prompt of "software update available", and pressing ok will update the device.

    You can use Google Play or Amazon App Store without giving a credit card, but of course you only get free apps. All app stores, even Apple's use credit card info to process purchases. They won't charge you without you knowing. Basically, any online store uses a credit card, and this is no different.

    They just need an account to tie your data to, because purchases are tied to the account. For example, I bought a $5 app off the Play Store. If I get a new phone, I don't have to pay $5 again since I would use the same Google account from my old phone on a new phone, and Google will see that this account has already paid for it.

    Of course that doesn't mean Google isn't "legally" mining your data. That's how they earn after all. But you still control what info you give them.
     
  3. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Yes, if you understand it you can control what Google (and others) get. You do need to choose your trade-off though:

    Don't want Google mining your email? Don't use your Gmail account for mail (you can use it for Play Store only).

    Don't want them to know your location? Use GPS only ("device only") for location and turn off the wireless bit of the location service. There's an additional control in the for Google location reporting in the location settings you can disable. Downside is that some location-aware apps only use the "low power" wireless location, so e.g. your weather widget may not automatically track your location, and much of Google Now will be broken (though if you care about Google gathering data you probably don't intend to use that).

    Don't want Google to have access to your contacts? Store them as phone only. But as they won't be synced you'll have to handle your own backups.

    Anything you back up to the cloud means someone has a copy - so you have an automatic backup but lost some control. Again, you choose what you back up and what services you trust.

    Assume the NSA and GCHQ are reading everything, whatever they say and whatever the law says. ;)

    You get the picture by now. Note that all of this applies to any Internet service or connected device, not just your phone. Don't want Google to know your interests? Use a different search engine or at least sign out before searching. Don't want Amazon to know exactly what you've read and how far you've got through each book? Turn off your Kindle's WiFi and sideload your books. Every time you "like" something on Facebook that is being added to an ad-targeting profile. Etc.

    Bottom line is that there are trade-off to be made, and different people draw the line on different places. You have to decide what works for you.

    As for the apps you name, Addons Detector will help identify apps which have particular permissions. I think that you need root for permission management since 4.4.2. The best safeguard is to only download apps from trusted sources and pay attention to permissions (e.g. a flashlight that can access your contacts and accounts should ring alarms). But remember that there are legit reasons for many of these, e.g. ads require Internet, and an app needs phone state permission if it's to mute when a call comes in, so don't jump the gun in assuming things are dodgy. There's a sticky post on this in the Android Applications forum that's worth a read on this.
     
    Rook98101, Crashdamage, Thom and 2 others like this.
  4. Cagey75

    Cagey75 Newbie

    I just made the switch from iOS to Android, and I have found Google to be more bullish at trying to push you to connect all to their services. Much more so than i ever remember iOS doing. Probably because Apple don't actually have a version of G+ themselves. They are more likely to prompt you to connect apps to Facebook. I found that easier to just ignore and decline. I have a G+ account already, and have used Gmail for years, so I just let it on and connect ... I never used the G+ acc for anything personal so no big deal.

    But it is a bit annoying, the constant Kriss-crossing between their own apps, everything I click seems to want more info out of me.
     
    Rook98101 likes this.
  5. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Thing is Facebook has been integrated into iOS at the system level since ver. 6, even iPhones sold in China have Facebook, and Twitter as well. On the other hand I'm very familiar with Androids that don't have anything Google in them whatsoever.

    Android has the permissions thing, where it tells what app needs to phone home to Google or Facebook etc. iOS does not tell you anything about what app is communicating with Apple, Facebook, etc, and no way to block or firewall it as well, unless jailbreak?
     
    Rook98101 likes this.
  6. Rook98101

    Rook98101 Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Really appreciate all the replies. Steep learning curve. Just wanted to get some feedback since have nothing to compare to. Thxs!
     
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