WSJ: Android Tracks Users, Worst Than Apple

Friday, April 22, 2011
By OP Editor

Android finally does something ‘better’ than Apple: tracking Android users in almost real time. Security research confirmed by Wall Street Journal.

Google Android Big Brother, Apple 1984 ad

Thinking of dropping iOS and move to Android open wasteland? This week’s iPhone TrackerGate prompted an examination of Android privacy.

Android Big Brother Tracks Fandroids

Wall Street Journal reports security analyst Samy Kamkar’s analysis on Android tracking users:

“HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour. It also transmitted the name, location and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, as well as a unique phone identifier.”

Disputing Google’s earlier claims:

“Google previously has said that the Wi-Fi data it collects is anonymous and that it deletes the start and end points of every trip that it uses in its traffic maps. However, the data, provided to the Journal exclusively by Mr. Kamkar, contained a unique identifier tied to an individual’s phone.”

It seems Apple is more open about what information is collected, with user permission:

Apple, meanwhile, says it “intermittently” collects location data, including GPS coordinates, of many iPhone users and nearby Wi-Fi networks and transmits that data to itself every 12 hours, according to a letter the company sent to U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) last year.

Google claims April 22, 2011, published by techcrunch:

“All location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user. We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices. Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user.”

The problem is, despite of whatever Google claims it’s doing with the data, Google DOES have access to the device and Google ID. How else do you get personalized search on desktop browser and localized search when you use a mobile device?

Google Big Brother Privacy Violations

Last year, Google was discovered to collect and store unencrypted wifi data, include email, computer PASSWORDS, using street view camera cars. It seems to be an intentional violation of privacy by Google. Why else would a company build antennas into cameras, write programs to capture wifi data, and then store illegally captured private data on Google servers? By accident?

NY Times reports “openness” of Google in this matter:

French authority said that Google had steadfastly refused to turn over the full source code for software used in gathering the Street View data.

Yann Padova, secretary general of the privacy agency, the National Commission for Information Technology and Freedoms:

“If a French company goes to America it has to operate under U.S. law,” he said. “The big problem is Google doesn’t seem to think European law is applicable to its services.”

Google was slapped on the wrist with a 100,000 Euro ($140,000) fine this March, but Google’s street view cars are banned from many countries since the violation was discovered.

So, which country is going to ban Android first?


Related Posts

  1. Android vs. iPhone / iOS Users: Infographics
  2. TrackerGate: Apple Tracks iPhone Location in Consolidated.db
  3. Nexus One Users Suffered National Wide Outage Bug
  4. iPhone vs. Android, Blackberry Users
  5. Free Apps Can Waste 75% Battery Life Tracking Users & Serving Ads

Tags: Android, Apple, Fail, iPhone

One Response to “WSJ: Android Tracks Users, Worst Than Apple”

  1. Bazz

    Google’s ads are premised on knowing who where and what you are or do!
    It manipulates search algorithms!
    It stole Android from Linux.
    Google’s whole MO is spying and deceit to get you to view their money maker -ads.
    The question is why are people so enraptured with a criminal organization? – Is it fundamentalism indoctrination? Is it USA capitalism at its best? Is it that USA citizens have no understanding or reasoning – that they must believe what is good for Google is good for everyone?


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