Reasons for caring your privacy and joining fdroid

1. Pre-reading
I’m quite curious on how many people are relying on big tech companies such as Google and Facebook when reading this post. Would you mind spending a second on the poll please?

Have you degoogled your phone and decreased your reliance on Google and other big companies such as Facebook?
  • Yes, thoroughly!
  • Partly, I’m concerned on them and is trying to rely on them less.
  • No, but I care about my privacy.
  • No, I’m fine with them.

0 voters

2. Introduction
People using F-Droid has mostly quit using Google or other big comapanies such as Facebook. When it comes to persuading others, it is quite hard to convince them the importance of privacy. Some even say

I’m not famous, why should I care? :roll_eyes:

So what? What can they do with me? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

It seems quite impossible to make them change their minds. Throughout the days I have degoogled my phone, it seemed to me that people simply rely on big techs so much, they grew so big and dominated the market, even ignoring your privacy. I set up a poll above to look for some answers from people like you who are here whether you think privacy is important to you.

3. Reasons
Seeing the reactions my friends had given me, I wanted to add a post for people to provide hard evidence and persuasion for friends like mine and spread the importance of privacy.

F-Droid is a place where open-source apps are free to be downloaded and used for your privacy as the apps published here are checked to ensure you privacy and security without ads, trackers (Google Analytics) and much more.

4. Actions
If you know something about big tech companies against privacy and the importnace of it, please tell us more.

If you are an outsider from F-Droid, I am really happy you read this article and hope you take actions after reading this.

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1. Introduction
In my point of view, Google has become a daily word of our lives. For example,

Google it up

Google Translate will help

2. Google? Everywhere (I’ll rather say total dominance and unfair :rage:)
It doesn’t matter what device you are using, from Android to ios to Windows, Google is playing as a part of it.

Where is it on my phone? (Click the arrow to see more)

On Android, it is not hard to imagine Google in it, from Play Store, Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Drive, or even Duo or Google meet (And a lot more).

On ios, Google is your default search engine as they pay Apple for it and still, a bunch of Google products.

How about my computers? (Click the arrow to see more)

On Windows and Mac, you may think you have less reliance on Google, but not quite.

Think of the first thing you see in Windows, Edge. Microsoft gave up developing their own browser because it seemed like a joke. People opened up Edge and typed in “Google Chrome” and never use it again.

Google has simply dominated the market. I’m not sympethizing Microsoft or encouraging it, it’s a bad company with closed source applications and its own trackers anyway. The point I’m trying to make is that even a big company like Microsoft gave up and at the end, they used Chrome’s source code to build Edge. And then you still spend most of your day on Google.

Then you may say:

No no no there’s still Mozilla’s Firefox and Safari. They somehow “survived”. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/sources-mozilla-extends-its-google-search-deal/

Nope, Google gave money to Mozilla to be its default search engine and now, Mozilla is putting their own trackers in as well. How about Safari? Well, they 3 have all the market share, Apple has their default browser as Safari, making them easier to survive but still uses Google as the default search engine (yes, again).

That sums up, browsing on the Internet? Google, Google and still Google defaultly. :expressionless:(And I haven’t even mentioned the other services)

3. Dominance? So what? :man_shrugging:
After a long message of Google dominating the market, your question will be:

So what?

Have you ever come across ads?

As per Trefis estimation, Google Advertising Revenue, which consists of Google Properties segment and Google Network members’ properties segment, will contribute 83.3% of Alphabet‘s (Google’s mother company) Total Revenue for 2019.

Ads equal? (Click the arrow to see more)

Now you see, ads are everywhere from websites to your favourite search engine Google to an app. The example of dominance in the search engine market is just a fraction of those products. With more people using its product, Google can have more people looking at their ads and make money that is because you won’t want to put an ad on somewhere that no one looks at, do you?

In order to make Google’s ads more effective, it takes your interests and habits such as travelling, gaming or even your job. Some even exclaimed at the amount of information Google has on them when they have turned on ad personalization and checked the page. From age to interest to even what you said to your friend about wanting to go to somewhere. Some of the information is sold to third parties and make money.

Google is simply taking your information for making money. :roll_eyes:

4. What information means

If it takes my information, so what? I’m not famous and they are useless!

That is untrue. Your phone stays as it is and doesn’t tell you what it does. From your photos to your location to your habits, what will Google do to them?

Information equals? (Click the arrow to see more)

Your information is not useless, it tells the developers roughly how old you are, how often you use it and when you use it. These are only some of the information, not mentioning the ones earlier that is more crucial.

Imagine your phone as a person and you’ll have a totally different view. Someone looking at you all the time and telling others your location and how you spend your day and much more. That’s the reason why you don’t let others see your phone right? You simply don’t want others to look at you at anytime.

5. How should I react?
Remember the survey earlier in this forum? Degoogling your phone may be a little too far for you as it is quite complicated.

  • Try using another search engine like Duck Duck Go and Startpage which respect privacy.
  • Try using apps from F-Droid, they are privacy-friendly and doesn’t contain ads. That will help a lot on your privacy!
  • Share this post and tell others

6. Conclusion
Though I had only pointed out the things that Google do, many others basically do the same, Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, if you started using the open source alternative to Facebook’s WhatsApp, Signal, that’s a good start but don’t forget Facebook and Google are doing the same thing and try avoiding them together!

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Common myths and why they are not true
Introduction
Recently, people have mostly abandoned WhatsApp (“wts” in the following essay) and is turning to use Signal and Telegram. However, when I hear them say

I think Facebook is not a good thing as it sells your data

I was quite frustrated and wanted to point out that this common thought is right but needs to be expanded. In my recent post, I have discussed how Google and Facebook shares your data to earn money and in this post, I will further explain why some common myths are simply wrong.

Myths:

  1. Let’s abandon Facebook! Hmmmm… Let me move on to other apps

Check before you even download(Click the arrow to see more)

Seeing Facebook’s wts’ new privacy policy, people started to migrate to other platforms that claim not to collect you data. Wts users migrate to Signal and Telegram (at least they are open source software) and Instagram users migrate to a platform called MeWe which claims to be privacy-friendly:

and… I take that back. Being closed-source is not a big problem now because when it is compared to the picture (in case you don’t understand, those trackers above records and tracks your activities), nothing can be more clear than that. Please, at least remove those trackers before even claiming yourself respecting privacy. :roll_eyes:

It’s like Google and Facebook claiming to “respect your privacy :slightly_smiling_face:”. While some of the platforms really do like Signal, some don’t, especially Google, Facebook and the previously mentioned MeWe. Check before you download! (most of them are lying :blush:)

  1. Oh no, they are now starting to collect my information!

Yes, they have been collecting your information for a long long time. To be honest, most of them are free to use because they sell your information, that means it’s not free, not in terms of money, but your information. It’s just a starting point to let people know this truth.

  1. I’ve left Facebook, I’m now safe

No, that isn’t the case. As previously mentioned, others still track you through trackers, they do the same – SELL YOUR INFORMATION.

Conclusion
To conlude, not everything is like what they claim to be, most of them are liars and shouldn’t be trusted.

Actions
Don’t use products from untrusted companies and delete them as soon as possible.
Help share this message and share more information.

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With all the scandals of FB, how could they be trusted !

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I recently wrote an article on Setting Up Android 10 with Free Software and Without Google Account. In the background section of the article I try to describe why privacy should be important to everyone.

How do I write this politely…

It’s hard to take privacy advice seriously when a site doesn’t take privacy seriously,

not-encrypted-page

but at least it’s not on github.

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Personally, now I use 2 browsers with netguard:

  • torbrowser => for privacy on TOR
  • firefox (of Mozilla) => for classic surfing with my different accounts on google, forums, git…

Why these 2 browsers? Because they allow me to use addons like httpseverywhere and noscript. Firefox allows me to use also ghostery, adblock+. A lot of browsers based on firefox don’t allow to use addons, use TOR or not and change the search engine.

I don’t mean to throw a monkey wrench in this topic, or make things overcomplicated, but “degoogle” your phone isn’t something you can just do if it comes with Google Services installed.

For example, if you use a third party firewall you will notice how Google Keyboard, “GBoard”, will eventually try to connect for whatever the message says… “Improving service”, or some such nonsense.

There are SO many background telemetry and other services present on each Android device and it’s quite a complex mission to have it operate without leaving much of a digital footprint - whether you’re logged into anywhere, or not. :smiley:

EDIT: @JohnFai made a very (!) important point about app permissions, that is what it comes down to in many cases. Unless, you know, that company has internal mechanisms.

There are really dangerous permissions like ones where they can install additional stuff without user confirmation, full access to network, run at startup and all that. It’s broad topic.

To clarify (about not being able to simply “degoogle”), this is what I mean. It’s the Google telephone dialer, present on most Androids. What will you use to call people?

It has Internet access though, why? (Interconnected services, it’s useful for “normal” use, but crazy for privacy). If you block the dialer, you block ONE app, BUT it has other services to go along with it, a lot. If you block one of those, you block half of the phone: 24 other things in my case, have a look at the screenshots. (EDIT: 109-85 blocked before and after is 24 additional)

Doing this, does it disable voice calling over Telegram, Signal, other services - does it affect quality of call, VoIP routing, what exactly happens? Who knows, but if you don’t block it, there are a TON of things that have online access without you knowing.

Anyway, the screens:

See what I mean, we all have to be software and hardware engineers to be able to have the simplest of things our way (like privacy and security. :))

Well, it turns out not only it wants to connect to the Internet to improve its services on what people type in to make better suggestions but also how people use it and how fast you type in. This means that no matter what you type in it collects them for “improving your experience and its services” and that means even if you use some secured and good apps you are just exposing whatever you do to Google. Turns out degoogling your phone is really the only solution.

True, Google has root acces on your phone, it can do whatever it wants to.

I don’t think that’s the case, when people started to migrate from wts its showing that we have control over them and it has extended its deadline (afterall who will use it again? :rofl:). This is just the beggining of our mission to take back control of our privacy!

The point is that if enough people know about this issue, enough pressure will make them take actions (though they still make their products closed source), this means being a normal person can still make things our way like using custom roms such as LineageOS which just doesn’t include Google for default. When you search for “Open Gapps” that is already a step back and tolerating them for stealing your information.

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Haven’t updated for a while, I would like to talk about the survey this time.

I left some time for people to vote for a more accurate result, it now seems to be.

Out of 30 voters, to my surprise, half of them have degoogled their phone, considering that people think it is impossible to have their life without these companies.

I’ve seen some videos talking about their life without Google for one day. They just turned off the Google Cloud sync with wts and I thought that is stupid. Google play services is still running, that means analytics!

Other results are quite clear and reflects the existing society, like most of them care about their privacy (31 out of 32) and I won’t say the one left doesn’t care about his/her privacy, it’s just that they don’t understand and should read the posts create earlier.

This is another topoc about permissions, DO NOT allow permissions that you won’t use. Permissions such as contacts and calendar will expose your communication and names when you call someone else.

There’s one way to do it, install custom ROM. This means that you will have your own operating system that you know well. Static ROMs from phone developers are usually closed source, it is not a good idea to put your life’s data into someone else’s os because you don’t know what they can do. Custom ROMs like LineageOS aims to protect your privacy without Google Play Services installed, instead it uses apps it develop which are open source. In case you don’t trust them, you can even build it yourself because it’s open source.

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@conditae

While the Google Dialer is indeed proprietary and does unknown things…
The AOSP Dialer needs Internet access to handle SIP, Visual Voice Mail, and USSD codes.

Also the permissions get exposed differently due to all telephone related packages being in their own special telephony group.
There are many aspects to it such as handling of modem communication, VoLTE, VoWiFi, video calling, and RCS.
While most of those extra features are proprietary the scaffolding for them is included in the AOSP telephony framework, thus requiring the permissions.

Blocking access to those is silly, if you are running an AOSP based ROM.
Blocking access to those will not affect any apps like Signal or Telegram.

@JohnFai

When you search for “Open Gapps” that is already a step back

Just to make it abundantly clear for others:
Open GApps is not open source. Only its website and build scripts are.
microG however exists as a fully free and open source re-implementation of the Google Play Services framework.

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And also after the installation it’s still Google Play services, the closed source “services” for stealing your information to “serve” you.

True, from their website:

It is a powerful tool to reclaim your privacy and freedom while enjoying Android core features (although apps you use that take advantage of it may still be using proprietary libraries to communicate with microG, just as they do when communicating with the actual Google Play Services).

But, what MicroG does is

MicroG allows mobile device users to access Google mobile services with less tracking of their device activity compared to Google Play Services.

To some certain extent, it reduces the amount of data to Google and in other words, your data is still going to Google in a certain amount. This is a tool for people who can’t use some apps which depends on GMS (Google Mobile Services), I’d prefer on boycotting Google completely, that’s the purpose of degoogling, no data to Google at all!

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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

The thing about customizing your browser just how you like it is: just you may like it that way, giving your browser a unique identifiable “fingerprint” for tracking at sites you weren’t logged in, assuming they don’t already trade data with sites you do log in.