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Re: [tor-talk] Off topic- Android is suspect spyware?

On 10 December 2014 at 01:22,  <andre76@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Anything that google touches or promotes is very suspicious.

Anything that any corporation touches is suspicious by the same
measures, if you want to be sufficiently paranoid about it. You think
there's no Chinese spyware in Huawei phones, or that Apple is on your

> Is there a way to eliminate all of the google bloatware and programs
> from an Android tablet and have a simple tablet that runs android
> without having to deal with google?

Yes. Get a forked device, like an Amazon Kindle Fire - such vendors
replace much of the Google software, often including the default app
store, with their own. But if you trust the third party more than
Google, your paranoia is broken.

> That google playstore monopoly
> drives me nuts!

This I don't understand at all. Of all the mobile ecosystems,
Android's has the least of an appstore monopoly. If you don't want to
use the Google Play Store, use another - there are numerous
third-party app stores. Or download apks directly and sideload them
(careful...this is where the malware lurks). All these are options
which don't exist in Apple or Microsoft devices. That's not a
criticism or endorsement, just a fact.

BlackBerry, curiously, is even more open - there's the default
BlackBerry World appstore, and BB10 ships with access to the Amazon
store for Android apps, and it supports easy sideloading AND provides
extra layers of app scanning beyond what Google does. But if you don't
trust Google, you shouldn't trust BlackBerry, for the same reasons.

> Rooting seems a partial answer to begin the process of modifying stuff
> on a device.

Only if that is the limit of your paranoia. You can root an Android
phone and rip out a bunch of stuff (the "Samsung decrapifier" is a
pretty good example of a bloatware removal tool), but there's still a
bunch of stuff that's off-limits, notably the code in, eg, the
baseband processor on the phone. Even if you could completely wipe a
phone, you couldn't be certain it was incapable of tracking or
eavesdropping. So the question is, how paranoid do you personally need
to be?

> What do you think?

I think you need to do some homework.

You should probably start with a personal risk assessment, then
research whatever measures are required to mitigate that risk. If you
are in a position where you need to be extremely paranoid about this
stuff, don't use a smartphone at all. Get a featurephone with no GPS
and a removable battery, and use it as a modem if you need to get
online, and take the battery out when you're in a sensitive situation.
If you just want to be tracked a bit less, root your Android
smartphone and use Orweb and orWall and suchlike. Avoid apps which are
ad-supported. Learn which services are what, and disable as many as
you comfortably can.

Or any of a number of options in between. It all comes down to what
level of risk you personally need to address.

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