I’d like to revisit the issue of the use of trackers in Bliss Launcher and the App Lounge. It was originally discussed briefly here: Newly added trackers into apps
First of all, I take it from that discussion that these trackers only report if Developer Options are turned on and “Developer Options → Enable /e/OS Telemetry” is enabled. Can we get official confirmation of this?
But secondly, whether or not this /e/'s own use of this tracker is opt-in, opt-out, or always-on is somewhat beside the point. What I find very concerning is that this tracker (and it self-identifies as a tracker so that’s not just my label) is totally ignored by /e/'s advanced privacy tracker blocking subsystem. That I find to be questionable behaviour.
On the /e/ Telegram channel @marcdw suggested that this tracker is ok because it is used by other open source apps distributed by f-droid. The partial list of users of a particular tracker is also 100% irrelevant to the issue. Open source apps using a tracker doesn’t launder it.
/e/'s catch phrase is that “your data is your data”. Is it in accordance with that standard that /e/ itself uses a tracker, and then turns a blind eye to that tracker’s use by every other application?
I would support the use of this tracker by /e/ in the following circumstances:
- It is declared
- It is strictly opt-in
- The tracker is included in /e/'s block list in Advanced Privacy
- That if by opting in to telemetry it means that /e/ can no longer block this tracker’s use in other apps, that this be disclosed at the time of opt-in. A message like:
“Enabling telemetry will cause the related tracker for sentry.io to no longer be blocked by in Advanced Privacy. If there are any other apps that use this tracker, whether or not those apps are opt-in or not, they will be able to access it freely.”
I don’t think that #4 should be needed, since Advanced Privacy can selectively disable trackers on a per-app basis. But it’s illustrative of the level of openness that /e/ should have.