Android spies us!

In this article, we’ll talk about the personal data, that Android system is collecting. Taking for example a Huawei P6 phone with Android 8 operating system. Immediately after the first launching of the device, you can choose your language and then appear the terms of license. Using a license agreement, Huawei tries to protect itself from customer complaints that may appear later due to their personal data using. In case you disagree with the terms, the company proposes to return the device to the point of sale.

Usually nobody reads this agreement, but we'll do it. We are particularly interested in the fifth paragraph, about the collection of personal data.

As you can see here is no promise not to use our data for personal gain and there is only a link to the rules of Huawei.
Let’s go on. In the sixth paragraph, the user should unconditionally agree that Huawei will collect his data such as location, application versions, IP address, application data. By the way, the last one includes all documents, created or open, including photographs, account statements, passwords for social networks and other information. Huawei claims that all of this will be collected solely to facilitate the life of the end user and promises to anonymize all information before processing. This means that the people who process the information will not know your address and name. However, towards the end, there is a clause that no protection gives an absolute guarantee. This is an important sign for the user: don’t store or process personal data on the phone.

Next is the service declaration. Some programs will collect data about the phone and store it on their servers situated abroad. Those will be the data about the phone, IP address, installed programs, the statistics of notifications using, the name of your mobile operator. In addition, these services can use your phone and Internet connection.

These were the conditions that could not be abandoned in any way, otherwise you should return the phone to the seller. Next, we’ll see the conditions that can be partially corrected by us.

The using of Wi-Fi and location services.

he phone will use Wi-Fi connection points and mobile stations to determine its location. These coordinates will be used to obtain weather information. It would seem that everything is simple, why not allow it. However, for some reason, the company trusts this decision only to adult persons. Is it because the coordinates will be stored on the Huawei server as personal data and parental permission is required to access them. These two functions can be disabled and the phone will continue to work. It will not report about available Wi-Fi networks. There will be no restrictions with the use of Wi-Fi or location by the end user.

These were only the conditions of the manufacturer of the phone, the next will be conditions of the Google services.

Help apps find location.

Help apps find location. The Google and apps from the market by default can collect information about the location of the phone and use it. This is the obvious place where personal data is leaked. Programs, written by programmers, not by Google but by anyone, can find out where you are and transfer this data to their developers. And from the point of view of Google, this is completely legal.

Improve Location accuracy. Even if the location and Bluetooth are turned off, programs can use incoming signals. This is usually used to detect the tags of stores and to offer you the ads from these stores. However, nobody prevents to locate these RFID tags not only in stores and to track your movement even if you have turned off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. I would advise to disable this option.

Sending usage and diagnostic data.

If you read this item carefully, it becomes clear that the diagnostic data, information about the use of the device and applications, web search will be sent to Google and Android developers. If you turn this off, the device’s functionality will not be affected.

Install updates and applications.

This option cannot be disabled. If there is any failure in the system update or in the application from the manufacturer, your mobile  will become a useless brick. This often happens with Chinese phones that simply flood us with Chinese-language ads. Because of it, on some phones, after a  short period of use you can’t even make a call.

Next, we'll see how Google snooping works in practice.
To be continued...

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