Naver Line App privacy

Hello!

Where I am located, Naver Line App is used a lot. And by a lot, I mean, there’s no way to have friends or a job without using Line.

However, I am concerned about Line and how much it knows about me and how much trust I can place in that app.

I did some internet search but couldn’t find much. How can I find out what data the app collects? How can I know if my information, my conversations, are safe?

Please advise thank you.

A good start (not much more) could be the app Tracker Control Tracker Control @ f-droid. The app logs and shows any background connection an app establishes. In standard mode, the connections are blocked and you are free to permit them individually. Further advice and tips are welcome…

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Here’s a report on the privacy of the Line app:

I’m unsure how to get information on the apps security though

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Additionnally, you can use Shelter or Insular, which use the work profile feature of Android to create a separate isolated “Island” that cannot access the data (pictures, contacts, etc.) in your main profile.

I suggest you install the apps that are hostile to privacy in Shelter or Insular. Then, as suggested by @frank.bxl you can add Tracker Control to Shelter (or Insular) in order to more efficiently block trackers. You can also install F-droid or the /e/ app store in Shelter in order to keep the apps updated.

If you want to know which trackers are present in a given app, use ClassyShark3xodus.

As a final word, I suggest you try convincing your friends to use Signal. The main points in favor of Signal are that :

  • It is open source
  • It is end-to-en encrypted
  • It is a non-profit
  • It does not exploit your metadata to generate profit
  • It supports images, videos, audio calls, groups, emoji, etc.

In summary, it is a better, privacy-respecting messenger app.

I patiently explained this to my friends and others and most of them agreed to switch to Signal. Why should you compromise your privacy if there is a better alternative ?

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+1 for Signal, also AppWarden is pretty good to lookup for trackers and loggers in apps.

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Hi,

Thanks for the tips. Already using Signal here and did get a couple of friends on Signal, especially when they wanna talk about politics. But I cannot convince 20 million people to do so. Like I said every single person here or business is using Line for sales, communications, advertisement. Line is not just a chat message app, it also is a shopping and transport platform and so on. At work people use group chats on Line. Corporations try to implement things like Slack or MS Teams at work but it fails, people just want Line and only Line. Say I need the plumber to fix the pipes, I’d need Line to communicate with him, share pics, my location etc. I managed to get rid of Facebook and I don’t care, but without Line here it is just impossible to get by. Long story short, I’ll have to use it. But while doing so I want to find out as much as I can and know how much of a spy it is.

Other than that, thanks for the nice and juicy apps and tips.

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I did not know the Line app before and I judged your situation too quickly, and for this I apologize. It is indeed difficult to get millions of people to change their habits.

It there is no way around it, mitigation seems to be an appropriate path. I just thought of another app : Scrambled Exif, which removes the metadata of your pictures before you share them.

Hope this helps, I wish you a beautiful day :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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No worries.

Installed TrackerControl and Insular.

For insular, I’m not quite sure to understand how that works yet. I get it creates a separate “work” profile, and that this profile then has cloned apps.

If I were to use it with Line, does it not mean Line needs to be installed on the main profile before it is then move to the “island”?

Do I then delete the app from “mainland”? What’s the proper way of using that?

Thanks! Super interesting app. I installed it, but it’s quite aggressive ans de cannot use anything while it’s on.

Before using Line I made some attempt like trying to use it on DuckDuckGo or NewPipe and neither can access internet it seems. Even after disabling tracking for these apps it still won’t allow them. It only seems to work if I turn the main tracker control toggle off.

Any tips on usage? Thanks.

Two ways :

  1. Install an app it in the main profile, and then move it (=clone it) to the island.

or

  1. Clone an app store (e.g. Aurora Store, f-droid, etc.) from the main profile into the island and download the app you want , which will be in the island too.

Either way, you should only keep one version in the island.

An app in the main profile and its clone in the work profile (the island) are separate. They do not have access to the data contained in the other profile. (Unless the option to transfer files between profiles is used)

Last time I tried, file transfer between mainland and island did not work on Android 10. It did not work either in Shelter.

This means that, in the case of Island Line, you would not have access to your conversations, images, and other data unless you can find a way to : make a backup of your main profile Line -> transfer the backup to the island -> Make the island Line use that backup to restore your chats.

Something I really like with Shelter is the ability to “freeze” apps until I open them, so that they are not running in the background if I do not use them.

Right. I think cloning the App Store makes sense.

It’ll be difficult to test without messing things up. When logging in Line on one end, the others existing instance is then disabled. I’ll figure out something.

I’m not entirely sure yet: what data precisely does the islands protect / restrict? I think it creates a different file system for the island account, so that it has its own file system and won’t be able to access the other. Seems great for contacts so it will only know contacts I allow it to know.

Things like phone / sim data or max address and what not. That metadata will still be available to it?

Insular indeed creates a different file system that can only be accessed by the apps installed in it.

Being a layman when it comes to this stuff, I’m not sure about phone / sim data, mac adress, etc. I suppose the work profile does have access to these in order to function.

As an example, I requested my whatsapp information before deleting it. Whatsapp was in the work profile (= Shelter or Insular) and had access to :

  • phone number
  • ip adress
  • device type
  • OS build number
  • Device manufacturer
  • Device model
  • Which ISP I use

and this does not include all the data it collected about my application use (e.g. who you chat with, for how long, length of the texts, at what time you use the app, how many times a day, your location if not disabled, and much more.)

Line seems to follow the same surveillance capitalism principles to collect as much data about you as possible. The 49 permissions as shown by the page shared by @athair_birb seem to indicate that only isolating it in Insular is not quite enough to protect your privacy.

Just a few of the 49 permissions Line requests that (I think) Insular does not protect you against :

  • access approximate location (network-based)
  • access precise location (GPS and network-based)
  • view network connections
  • view Wi-Fi connections
  • find accounts on the device
  • retrieve running apps
  • have full network access
  • control Near Field Communication
  • read phone numbers
  • read phone status and identity

Once again I do not know much more than you, so take what I write with a pinch of salt.

George Orwells phantasy was a joke, compared to our reality. Creepy Line App… :worried:

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I guess some people don’t understand Insular. As far as i understand it,

  • it doesn’t gives you privacy by itself
  • it provides a user account on the device, which cannot access data of the default user account on the same device

Lets take WhatsApp: If you install WhatsApp in Insular and use the same phone number, it makes no difference and doesn’t provide more privacy. You have even the same data, because WhatsApp will sync all your data into the filesystem of Insular.

Where Insular makes sense: Lets say you are using a chat app for work and for private communications and you have two separated accounts, one for privat and one for work which use your private mail address and your work mail address for login. If you have this chat app installed on your device and in Insular, you can use the chat app with different accounts without logoff of the private account and login with the work account. Also the work account will not see the data from the private chat app.

I hope it makes sense.

In short, Insular can be seen, more or less, like a different device with the same phone number.

So where I see Insular can make sense is for example access to contacts. Line, for example, will creep into contact list and auto-add friends. Using Insular I could add a phone number to my regular user profile without having to hand it over to Line.

Yes, this is a good example, too. It is similar for me with Outlook, Teams, etc. Ofcourse i don’t want these apps to sync private contacts, files etc. to the company storage.