Tracking -- Who can help me (us) understand?

Hi all,

I have some questions regarding privacy violations and tracking:

  1. Does Gmail import all the contacts we store on our phones,
    – like Whatsapp notoriously does, or are they not as nasty, and only use
    the contacts we stored online with them on Google Contacts?

  2. We all get a lot of permission requests from apps. What kind of
    permission requests from apps should we allow – or deny?
    Is there a tool that can help us choose what to allow or not?

  3. Some apps contain trackers. It would be great to avoid these apps
    altogether, but sometimes some of us need to use some of these apps,
    for example for work reasons. My question is: Do these trackers track
    “only” what we do while using that specific app, or is there a risk that
    they can track other things we do while using our phones as well?

I would be interested in replies from anybody who is interested in the topic,
but also in a more ‘official’ reply from /e/, perhaps from @Manoj.

Thanks!

  1. What Google stores and does not store ? You may have to check with Gmail forums what information they pull. Ideally do not put gmail or any google products on your /e/ phones because that makes ‘de - googling’ meaningless.
  1. This is for you to decide what permission to allow and what not . We cannot dictate that sharing this information is safe and this is not. For e.g. google maps or a maps app will ask for your location details. If you want to use the app you would need to share the detail. Now it depends on you if you allow it at all times or keep the app disabled while at home and enable it only when traveling.
    Not aware of any tools to help with this kind of decision making. Maybe users who are aware can share such app names if available.
  1. Same as above. The decision on tracker has to be made by you. Ideally we should not be telling you which tracker are good or which bad. The user should have all the information and based on them make an informed decision of his / her own.
    What can be done is more information where possible about what these trackers ‘track’ and how much they track can be shared where available.
    This may need some good documents and topics about trackers and how they track user info on the forum.
    We encourage technically inclined users to write on such subjects on the forum.

here an 'unofficial" answer :wink::

trackers are never good. Ask you self, why should a app collect any data from you, what you do or where you are ? And if you will have a look what kind of trackers are used, most are from google or FB and what google and FB is doing with the collected data, I think everyone is knowing.

regarding permissions is the same. Ask yourself. Why should a calendar app get access to phone ? Or why should a game should have access to contacts ? So it’s really easy to decide by yourself. be a little self-critical and everything’s good.

I only can say, Manoj is absolute right. do not infect a google free OS with google apps.

Unfortunately, I can’t prove this with a link, but I’ve read somewhere that trackers really can “go beyond” their own application.

yes, that is absolute right. some trackers. for example the FB tracker, are able to collect data also from other apps. The are reading the whole phone memory.

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This massive work is being successfully carried out by Exodus privacy project: https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/en/trackers/

P.S. love this forum for these kinds of discussions.

Be careful with Exodus. Yes it is a very useful resource, but it only looks for “known tracker” addresses in the app. For example exodus reports zero trackers for chrome browser, yet google sucks up every drop of information it can while using the browser.

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and it’s checking the app in play store. For some apps (telegram for example) a version is also available in f-droid. he playstore app does have trackers and that one in f-droid not.

There is a way out – simply disable Internet access for Chrome with AFWall+.

I think your remark is most relevant for those applications with which any significant or sensitive activity is performed. Fortunately, there are not too many such scenarios where this activity goes online, so the app can’t be cut off from the Internet. However, this is a worthy remark.

We have had this discussion some days before in telegram group. And the result was, there is no way to stop data collecting.

Forgot to thank you all, so: thank you!

What are you using instead of MyMaps from BigG?

For example to add places you have been to, or want to go to, on a map.

Is this any good?

http://mapcreator.here.com/

I’m using maps form f-droid or OSM.

I tried Magic Earth, Maps (F-droid) and Trekarta Lite,
but I am not very happy with any of them really
(maybe just because I’m not used to their interfaces).

Will try OSM as well. Thanks.

P.S. @harvey186: Is it possible to import my “favourite places”?

Export them from MyMaps and import them into OSM ?

Sorry, don’t see a way to import them

The simplest thing you can do against the trackers is NetGuard with blacklist of hosts. Apps from FDroid are ok, apps from Yalp store are best if they are not allowed to access the internet. Manually check all permissions of all apps in LOS Privacy Guard and disable what doesnt make sense. Avoid apps from Google, Facebook and similar vendors, use apps from multiple vendors. I use Mapy.cz as a better frontend to OSM but its best to download the maps offline, disallow internet access and wipe all this app’s data before upgrading the map data - redownload needs more bandwidth but happens few times a year, just do not forget to re-disable the network access. Use a RSS reader and opensource website wrappers like Newpipe. Install uBlock origin and uMatrix to Fennec and use FF Klar/Focus for one-off quick searches.

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Hi @sarimak,

so, NetGuard is something I can download from
F-droid and then set up?

LOS Privacy Guard is Lineage OS Privacy Guard?
Is it installed on /e/ as well ?

Thx-

Exactly, install NetGuard from F-Droid, it will act as a VPN. Allow only selected apps to use the Internet. See https://www.netguard.me/ for details.

Open the Android settings and type Privacy to the search bar on top. You will see of you can access it. It allows you to ignore requests for some permissions for selected apps without the apps noticing. It has priority over the native permission system in Android. See https://www.guidingtech.com/42045/cyanogenmod-privacy-guard/ for review of (very old) version of the feature.

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