• Apps

    by Published on 07-18-2019 01:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    You may have noticed that your social media friends and/or favourite celebs have suddenly aged a few decades... it's all thanks to FaceApp. Available for Android and iOS, it uses "advanced neural portrait editing technology" to, among other things, make you look older or younger.

    What makes FaceApp different from other photo editing apps is that it's suddenly made us aware of privacy issues that come with sharing our likeness on the Internet.

    First, there's the app's terms of service:

    “You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.”
    I've bolded the word "non-exclusive" for a reason; you still own your photos that you upload to FaceApp, just as you do with Facebook, Twitter and any other photo sharing service on the Internet. It would be great if FaceApp could work its magic locally on your device, but it doesn't. So it's not entirely unreasonable for them to require a non-exclusive license to upload your content to their servers—or, more likely, a CDN that they pay for but don't directly control. The rest looks to me like the standard legalese you'd find in the EULA for any social media network.

    Perhaps alarm bells are ringing louder than usual due to the unfortunate coincidence that the creators of FaceApp are based in St. Petersburg. So while all the clickbaity headlines like: "Russia now owns your face!" are technically true, in practical terms it's no less of an issue than for a Russian Snapchat user to upload their selfie to that American owned and run service (for example).

    If you're asking me for advice I personally would leave such narcissistic behaviour to celebrities, but in this age of influencers I suppose that we're all celebrities to a degree. So in the spirit of sharing and community here's a FaceApp of myself:

    What a time to be alive!

    Links: Fast Company via Vox

    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    by Published on 07-15-2019 02:10 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    As per the email above, Google is breaking one of Android's most useful utilities. I've been using SMS Backup+ for almost as long as I've been using Android. It's not the only way to back up your text messages (and phone call history), but up until today it was arguably the most useful—users have been able to send their SMS history to Gmail (and their phone calls to Calendar) for easy searches of your communications history through these two Google products.

    As of July 15th existing hooks may or may not continue to work, but one thing is clear: as soon as I upgrade to a new phone and try to reconnect the app to Gmail I'll be locked out.

    Here's a message from the developer on GitHub:

    Hello everyone. I'm sorry about this situation, SMS Backup+ will no longer have access to Gmail, mainly because it's not an email reading app. I applied for an exception but it was declined, as expected [...] Unfortunately the Android platform is getting more and more closed. I'm not sure what to do at this point, either remove the app from the store or release a new version which removes the automatic account setup, since that is broken / will be broken soon.
    Ars Technica reports that this isn't the only app that's going to suffer from Google's new "protections"; SwiftKey will also be blocked from using Gmail to better predict text input—a move which will obviously benefit the first-party alternative from Mountain View.

    Links: Ars Technica, GitHub

    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    by Published on 06-07-2019 10:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Yesterday Google revealed more details about Stadia, its forthcoming game-streaming service. Supported devices at launch include the Chrome browser on MacOS and Windows, the Chromecast Ultra and 3rd-gen Pixel phones. Additional details are as follows:

    Launch Date
    Founder's Edition early access - November, 2019
    Stadia Pro - 2020

    Launch Markets
    United Kingdom
    United States (except Hawaii)

    Launch Titles
    Assassin's Creed Odyssey
    Baldur's Gate 3
    Borderlands 3
    Darksiders Genesis
    Destiny 2
    DOOM Eternal
    Farming Simulator 19
    Football Manager 2020
    Get Packed
    Ghost Recon Breakpoint
    Just Dance 2020
    Metro Exodus
    Mortal Kombat 11
    NBA 2K
    Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid
    Rage 2
    The Crew 2
    The Division 2
    The Elder Scrolls Online
    Tomb Raider Trilogy
    Trials Rising
    Wolfenstein: Youngblood

    Founder's Edition, includes:
    - Chromecast Ultra
    - limited edition Night Blue Stadia controller
    - three months of Stadia Pro (see below)
    - three month Buddy Pass
    - dibs on selecting a Stadia Name
    - $169 CAD / $129.99 USD
    Stadia Pro
    - $11.99 CAD / $9.99 USD per month
    Pay-per-game pricing TBA

    Sources: Android Police, Mobile Syrup
    Image source: XDA

    by Published on 06-04-2019 02:10 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Breaking news from XDA today: Support for the Android version of Google Trips will end on August 5th of this year. As someone who likes to travel every now and again I'm actually not too busted-up over this, as there will continue to be a web version of the app. Also, the service itself was never actually very good.

    When it was first announced not even three years ago Trips seemed to me like an obvious replacement for TripIt, a free/paid service that you forward your travel plans to in exchange for an itinerary that you can print, share or add to your Google Calendar. I had been using TripIt for over a decade, but switched to Trips since it could scan my Gmail for reservations and dump them into my calendar automatically. And with Inbox's travel bundles entire itineraries were only a click or tap away.

    Now we all know what happened to Inbox, but what I didn't know was how bad Google is at adding travel plans to Calendar, especially when those plans change.

    As for the app itself, here's a screenshot from my most recent trip:

    Of the tiles you see above the one for reservations was all I ever used; the rest seem like they were designed for people who travel without mobile data—in other words, nobody. Thus, it's hardly surprising that the web version of Trips includes none of this unnecessary cruft.

    So no, I'm not going to shed any tears over the Android version of Trips because, like so many of Mountain View's other "experiments", not a lot of effort was ever put into it. I've just gone back to using TripIt, which still works great!

    Source: XDA

    by Published on 06-03-2019 02:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Unfortunately a prior commitment will keep me from catching the WWDC keynote this afternoon, so instead I'm going to spill the beans on what is rumoured to be the best possible news to come out of Cupertino in many years: The death of iTunes.

    As a loyal Apple customer from 1995 until 2010, it never made sense to me that iPhones connected to Macs via a music player.

    I'm well aware that one of the reasons why the iPhone came to market in the first place was to combat the rising tide of Nokias and Sony Ericssons with onboard music players of their own. And as a natural evolution of the wildly-successful iPod I can appreciate how iPhone plus iTunes probably made sense at the time, as users were still shuttling their music collections between desktop and mobile in those dark days before Spotify or Apple Music.

    But even back then smartphones were about so much more than just media. Apple already had a pretty great syncing tool in the early 2000s called iSync, which used Bluetooth and SyncML to synchronize the four pillars of personal information management: calendars, contacts, notes and tasks. Now, almost two decades later, Apple is finally breaking apart the bloated mess that is iTunes, paving the way for a more useful and sensible connection to desktop computers:

    This year, Apple is finally ready to move into a new era. The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac—Music, TV, and Podcasts—to replace iTunes. That matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads.

    Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app.

    Source: Bloomberg
    Image source: Gizmodo

    by Published on 05-24-2019 09:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    With all the talk about Chinese backdoors and state-sponsored spying we must remember that our personal information is also at risk from entities closer to home. Case in point: Snapchat, whose employees have apparently been abusing access to user data, according to a new report from VICE. This is especially troubling for an ephemeral photo and video messaging service that first gained popularity as a sexting app.

    The tool used to access user accounts is known internally as SnapLion (as per the fake logo whipped up by a VICE artist above); more on that from the source:

    The tool was originally used to gather information on users in response to valid law enforcement requests, such as a court order or subpoena, two former employees said. Snap's "Spam and Abuse" team has access, according to one of the former employees, and a current employee suggested the tool is used to combat bullying or harassment on the platform by other users. An internal Snap email obtained by Motherboard says a department called "Customer Ops" has access to SnapLion. Security staff also have access, according to the current employee. The existence of this tool has not been previously reported.
    Data that can be retrieved using SnapLion includes user generated content (Snaps) and location information, plus the email addresses and phone numbers of users.

    From interviews with Snap employees VICE says that abuse was carried out by multiple individuals within the company, and occurred on multiple occasions. Read the full story at the link immediately below.

    Source: VICE

    by Published on 05-16-2019 11:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    A special episode of The Vergecast this week features an interview with Mark Rifkin, a lawyer involved in a class action suit against Apple. Originally filed in 2011, Apple vs. Pepper argues that the iOS App Store is an unlawful monopoly; whereas Android (for example) offers alternative app stores and direct installs from developers, Apple gives you exactly two choices: deal with the App Store or have zero third-party apps on your phone. Because Apple takes a 30% commission on all App Store purchases, the plaintiffs argue that this fee is passed on to users, who again have nowhere else to go.

    The case has been making its way through the legal system for the past eight years. First, a lower court sided with Apple; then an appeals court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. This week the Supreme Court upheld the prior ruling against Apple, citing the precedent of Illinois Brick, a case where the state of Illinois sued a brick company for price-fixing. Without going into too much detail, that case was about who in the supply chain was the guilty party.

    Here's what Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh says about Apple:

    iPhone owners are not consumers at the bottom of a vertical distribution chain who are attempting to sue manufacturers at the top of the chain. There is no intermediary in the distribution chain between Apple and the consumer. The iPhone owners purchase apps directly from the retailer Apple, who is the alleged antitrust violator. The iPhone owners pay the alleged overcharge directly to Apple.
    In a statement to The Verge Apple asserts that its App Store "is not a monopoly by any metric", and will likely cite the very existence of Android as proof. But, according to Rifkin:

    “The fact that they have a [less than] 50 percent market share of smartphones doesn’t mean they don’t have a 100 percent share of the distribution of iPhone apps—which they absolutely do.”
    Have a listen to the 40-minute episode at the link immediately below.

    Source: The Verge

    by Published on 05-10-2019 12:40 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Okay, this is getting a bit ridiculous... after years of complaining about tap and pay on Android I finally have a OnePlus phone with a decent NFC radio and a stable version of Magisk that successfully hides root from Google's official tap and pay app.

    And it still doesn't work.

    Shame on me, I guess, for thinking I could use it with my AMEX card at a shop where AMEX isn't accepted. Since Google obfuscates your credit card number from the merchant I assumed that the type of credit card would similarly be hidden; I was wrong. I realize that it's only a matter of time until tap and pay finally starts working as promised, but this latest experience has me questioning yet again if I should even bother.

    Let's revisit the three pillars of Google Pay:

    Again, Google Pay hides my credit card number from the retailer, but here in Canada credit cards use Chip and PIN security which yields, for the user, pretty much the same result.

    Google Pay does at least let me leave my credit and debit cards at home, so if I get a hankering for Peanut M&Ms when I'm out getting exercise then I'm covered. But most of the time I carry my phone in my oversized wallet, so the value for me is dubious at best.

    Google Pay is supposed to alert me of nearby offers as I make my way through the world. For the past week in downtown Toronto the number of said offers has been zero.

    I'm starting to wonder if the only real perk of using Google Pay is that Google gets to see all of your transactions on any registered card, whether you're using Google Pay or not. Is there something I'm missing here?

    by Published on 04-02-2019 01:50 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    As of today, Google's "experiment" in re-imagining email is officially over, with Inbox joining a growing list of the company's abandoned apps and services.

    I can still remember the exact moment that I decided to try it out, while listening to The Verge crew sing its praises on their weekly podcast. Like Gmail you had to get an invite at launch; unlike Gmail it was only a few weeks before I got mine. And almost immediately thereafter I began using Inbox full-time.

    Less than four years later Google abruptly announced that Inbox would be shutting down. They promised at the time that its best features would be added to Gmail proper but, as 9to5Google reports, that promise has yet to be fulfilled. I'm still missing the very handy travel bundle, where I could see plane tickets and hotel reservations organized by date on a single screen. On Android I can use Google Trips, but for some reason that app no longer has a desktop counterpart.

    What I'll miss most about Inbox, though, was its elegant interface, which encouraged me to act on messages quickly and then file them away—when I did I'd get this nice little graphic as a reward. Gmail has it now too, but Inbox did it first.

    So rest in peace Inbox, and say hi to Google Reader for me.

    Sources: 9to5Google, The Verge (1) (2)

    by Published on 03-26-2019 01:50 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Apple's Spring 2019 Event went down yesterday at the Steve Jobs Theater in California, promoted everywhere with the tag line: "it's show time". Indeed, as the many embedded YouTube videos in this post would suggest, Cupertino is leaning hard into traditional media. And also credit cards...?

    I'm already getting ahead of myself here; let's break it down:

    Apple Arcade

    This one is the lightest on details, a subscription service for games promised sometime this year. It seems to me that its announcement was primarily an attempt to steal some thunder from Google Stadia, with the main differentiator being that Apple Arcade titles can be played offline.

    Apple did say that it will launch, in both Canada and the United States, with more than 100 new and exclusive titles.

    Apple Card

    ... Or, more accurately, an Apple-branded virtual MasterCard from Goldman Sachs. Available this summer (USA-only), it will offer deep integration with Apple Pay, no extra fees and daily cashback rewards of up to 3% on purchases.

    One caveat that I spotted right away was that the cashback goes on a separate digital card within Apple Pay, and cannot be used to pay down your balance. On the plus side, you also get a nifty physical card made of titanium for anywhere Apple Pay isn't accepted.

    Apple News+

    Here's Apple's revamped subscription-based service for magazines and newspapers. It's available right now in the U.S. (for $9.99/month) and Canada ($12.99/month) via iOS 12.2 and the existing news app. You can also try before you subscribe with the first 30 days free.

    About 300 titles are currently available, some featuring animated "live covers".

    Apple TV+

    In addition to new premium TV channels that users can subscribe to à la carte, Apple is also launching a separate Plus package with original programming. Content partners who have already signed on include J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Steven Spielberg.

    The service is set for a wide launch this fall in 100 markets, including Canada. Pricing is TBA.

    Additional Sources: MacRumors (1) (2) (3), The Verge (1) (2)

    by Published on 03-22-2019 02:40 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Here's evil in action on a whole new level: BuzzFeed is reporting on a new ad fraud scheme for Android apps that may run up extra charges on your data network, but will almost certainly drain your device's battery. I don't really understand the graphic above either, so here's the scam works—using the example of "Julien", an app developer:

    Julien sells a banner ad, which appears in the app and is visible to his users. Then, hidden from view behind that banner, fraudsters conceal auto-playing video ads that no human being actually sees, but which register as having been served and viewed. In this scenario, Julien gets paid for the small banner ad in his app that users see, but the fraudsters earn many times that amount by stuffing far more lucrative video ads behind the banner. Ultimately, it’s the brands whose ads were shown in hidden video players that lose money to those running the scheme.
    According to BuzzFeed, this scam streams as many as 60 million unseen video ads per month, and is a $20 billion annual business for fraudulent advertisers. This might be a good time to remind you of the existence of ad blockers. I've heard good things about AdGuard, but nothing beats AdAway if you've got root.

    Links: AdAway, AdGuard, BuzzFeed

    by Published on 02-12-2019 01:40 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    What, this confusing banner graphic from a random foreign-language YouTube video doesn't make things abundantly clear for you? Fine... It seems that the music streaming service Spotify updated its Terms of Service recently, and eagle-eyed tech bloggers noticed this clause:

    The following is not permitted for any reason whatsoever:

    10. Circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify Service.
    Unfortunately the headlines that resulted—like The Verge's "Spotify bans ad blockers in updated Terms of Service"—are more than a little misleading. Over the weekend I watched as a bunch of confused redditors tried to figure this out in a thread on r/Android.

    Eventually they did, and it boils down to this: Spotify's warning is meant for users running modded APKs that filter out audio ads from the free version of their service. if you're running Spotify on a device with a system-wide ad-blocker like AdAway or Blockada, you almost certainly have nothing to worry about.

    You can Google "hacked Spotify apk" if you like to get an idea of what's out there, just don't bother downloading anything from the results—or your free account might be terminated, remember?

    As a paying subscriber I honestly have no idea if there are visual ads in the app; if there were then sure, AdAway would probably block them, thereby violating the ToS. But then again, I can't imagine Spotify being impacted by this, as someone streaming music through their phone isn't likely to be staring at the album art for any significant length of time.

    Sources: Spotify, The Verge via r/Android

    by Published on 02-08-2019 02:35 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Ditto for Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com and Singapore Airlines. All of these apps—on both Android and iOS as far as I can tell—use a customer experience analytics firm called Glassbox. Here's how they themselves describe their own tech:

    Imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it? This is no longer a hypothetical question, but a real possibility. This is Glassbox.
    The obvious security risk here is that each of the apps in question holds sensitive user information, not only email and physical addresses but credit card numbers as well. Glassbox gives app developers tools to mask this data (quite literally, with black boxes) but guess what? They don't always work. Check out this screencast from The App Analyst:

    Since the story broke, Air Canada reached out to TechCrunch with this official statement:

    “Air Canada uses customer provided information to ensure we can support their travel needs and to ensure we can resolve any issues that may affect their trips [...] This includes user information entered in, and collected on, the Air Canada mobile app. However, Air Canada does not—and cannot—capture phone screens outside of the Air Canada app.”
    Way to miss the point there, AC.

    Apple too, has responded to the situation, threatening immediate action for any app recording screens without explicit user consent. Nothing from Google yet...

    Sources: TechCrunch (1) (2) via The App Analyst

    by Published on 12-13-2018 03:25 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Canadians who rely on mass transit in the province of Ontario should be pleased to hear that there's finally an app for that. Metrolinx has announced a limited beta of a new PRESTO app for both Android and iOS.

    Anyone who wants to tap on or off with their phone, however, will unfortunately have to wait. From Mobile Syrup:

    The Android version of the app disappointingly doesn’t feature the ability to instantly pay by swiping the phone near a Presto machine, though Metrolinx says that functionality is coming in future versions.

    Given how tightly guarded Apple is with the iPhone’s NFC functionality, it remains unclear if the ability to validate a transit trip at a Presto kiosk will ever come to the tech giant’s smartphone.
    Aren't people doing this stuff on their wrists now...?

    Also, there's a stern warning that the Android app won't run on rooted Android devices, but not to worry—Magisk Hide will instantly fix that.

    Sources: @aczerny on Twitter via iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup

    by Published on 11-13-2018 03:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Cloudflare's public DNS has been available since April, but there's been no way to use it with your mobile carrier's data network. That is until now. Available for both Android and iOS, the app allows you to switch your DNS resolver with a single tap, as seen above. For why you might want to do this, here's a Linus Tech Tips video, posted shortly after made its debut:

    So, to summarize, you can (potentially) enjoy lower latency and increased privacy just by switching your DNS. There are other alternative DNS resolvers out there—Google being the notable example—but as of right now Cloudflare's is by far the easiest to use on your mobile device.

    Source: Cloudflare via SlashGear

    by Published on 11-09-2018 03:28 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Tips,
    3. Apps

    For us few, proud Pebblers desperately hanging on to our favourite smartwatch it seems inevitable that it's going to suffer a death by a thousand cuts. I've just learned on reddit (via this post) that version 9 of Android comes with some unknown "improvement" that breaks call display for all Pebbles connected with the official app.

    Pebbles connected via Gadgetbridge aren't affected. Then again, Gadgetbridge doesn't support Rebble.io features like weather and voice replies.

    For those of us connected via Rebble there is thankfully an Android (and companion Pebble) app that purports to fix this critical functionality. It's called Dialer for Pebble, and can be found on both F-Droid and Google Play.

    Before you go ahead and try it, though, be aware of two potential issues: First, it brings the grand total of required apps on your Android device to three—the Pebble app (obviously), Wear OS (for additional notification support) and now this Dialer app. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it may not even work. Here's a telling comment from a related r/Pebble thread:

    After a back and forth with matejdro [the developer] about how Dialer hangs on my Pixel XL with Pie, a Time Steel (two, actually—I tested with a second watch) and Rebble, I've uninstalled Dialer.

    The problem has been that Dialer hangs (for lack of a better term) and prevents any subsequent notifications from coming through until I notice and cancel Dialer. Then it works until the next hang.
    If any Pebblers have a better experience with this solution kindly let the rest of us know. I myself am going back to the Amazfit Bip for the time being; I'm sure the Chinese government has missed my daily step counts...

    Sources: r/Pebble (1) (2)
    Links: Dialer for Pebble on F-Droid / Google Play

    by Published on 10-25-2018 02:55 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    Vlad Savov—yeah, that's him above—has uploaded some before and after images to The Verge, captured with and without a modded version of the Pixel 3 camera app. I'd say the results pretty much speak for themselves.

    To be clear, Google's Night Sight feature is still very much in testing, and this unofficial app merely has the cuttlefish (aka Night Sight) flag set to "on". Visit this XDA link for additional technical details, plus their own gallery of impressive comparison shots.

    If you blow up the source for the image on the right it's by no means sharp; on the other hand Google is basically turning night into day here, so I'm not going to ding them too much on image quality.

    If you really want to be amazed be sure to check out the other images on The Verge—they've got some sort of web plugin that overlays a slider onto each photo, showing the before and after on either side of it. Even in its current pre-release state Night Sight seems nothing short of magic.

    Links: The Verge, XDA

    by Published on 08-23-2018 03:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Tips,
    3. Apps

    Once again, it's summer vacation time for yours truly, and before I set off I thought I'd share some travel wisdom in regards to airlines and their mobile apps. After a decade of pining for paperless check-in it's now very much a thing, but after getting this notification from China Airlines' spiffy Android app I went straight to my desktop computer to check in online and print out boarding passes the old fashioned way. Here's why...

    The girlfriend and I are actually starting our journey from Toronto on Air Canada. When we check our bags for that first flight I'm going to ask if they can be also checked through on China Airlines to our final destination; if Air Canada can facilitate that request I'll then hand over our paper boarding passes from China Airlines, instead of two smartphones whose screens will timeout and will have to be unlocked every sixty seconds by a fingerprint and pattern, respectively.

    We'll then request paper boarding passes for our Air Canada flight, so that we don't have to hand over the same smartphones that contain our entire digital lives to a security official who might decide, for whatever reason, that a further inspection of our digital lives is necessary.

    It's not that we've anything to hide; when it comes to our travel plans it's really quite the opposite. My pre-travel printing spree also includes two complete sets of airline tickets and hotel reservations, which I'll leave in each of our unlocked suitcases, along with scans of our passports, in the event that they get misdirected somewhere along the way. And lest you think I'm some kind of tree-hating monster, the pages will be shredded and recycled upon our return home.

    To sum up, paper still has its place in 21st century travel, for your security and the convenience of everyone you'll interact with along the way. Thanks for indulging; I expect to be back on regular duty on Monday, September 10th.

    by Published on 08-16-2018 03:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Apps

    This just in: recording phone calls will no longer be possible (at least without root) on devices running Android 9 Pie. The developer of the popular ACR app (which I use) took to his own issue tracker to explain:

    Official call recording API was discontinued on Android 6 by Google on the grounds of user privacy. Luckily, few developers found a workaround and it worked up until Android 8.1. Sadly, we have learnt that Google has closed that workaround on Android 9.
    According to Android Police the issue isn't so much user privacy as it is local laws on call recording. In Germany, for example, all parties in any call must agree to be recorded, whereas current privacy laws here in Canada require only one party consent. While I generally respect other people's privacy, I'm of the strong opinion that calls to businesses are absolutely fair game for recording—especially when you consider that they almost always record you and provide no way to opt out.

    And the war on general purpose computing continues...

    Links: ACR Issue Tracker via Android Police, Cory Doctorow

    by Published on 08-14-2018 03:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Apps

    By now you've probably seen some version of the AP exclusive about Google and your location history. In a nutshell, Google services continue to track your whereabouts, whether you want them to or not. And to be perfectly clear, this happens on both Android and iOS.

    Among smartphone users I can picture a spectrum of reactions, from a dismissive shrug to a tinfoil hat:

    "Who cares? I've got nothing to hide."

    I can't say that I 100% agree with this; to paraphrase Ed Snowden, dismissing privacy because you've got nothing to hide is like dismissing free speech because you've got nothing to say.

    But it does remind me of a chat I once had with a so-called security expert, who at the time insisted that his clients refrain from using any of Google's products. "Wouldn't that make you more suspicious?" I asked him, and he eventually came to agree with me that security through obscurity is a defensible strategy to protect one's privacy.

    "Granting Google access to some of my personal data in order to use their services is a fair exchange."

    This is where I currently find myself on this particular issue. Not only do I keep my location history turned on, but I share it with the girlfriend on an ongoing basis. That way both her and Google know if I stop in at Dairy Queen when I'm not supposed to.

    That said, if you do opt out of location tracking then it's a reasonable expectation that you shouldn't be tracked.

    "Of course Google is spying on you. Don't you know they're funded by the CIA? Wake up, sheeple!"

    That's certainly possible, but... I dunno.

    What mostly concerns me about surveillance in this part of the world is that it's not at all transparent. Everybody knows that WeChat shares user data with the Chinese government, yet it takes a Snowden to reveal it here. I'm not saying that China is better, only that North America seems to be about as bad.

    So that's my two cents. What do you make of this latest revelation about Google and location tracking?

    Source: Associated Press

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    they have 700 in ALL areas. they own nationwide...

    they have 700 in ALL areas. they own nationwide band 13. Also their spectrum "issues" is wishful thinking by haters/rivals.

    Jack Hagar Today, 04:25 PM Go to last post