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Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the introducing-google-cave-view dept.

Android 478

An anonymous reader writes "After many years I am finally considering entering the smartphone era. Within the mainstream, there seem to be four OS choices: Windows, Android, Blackberry, or iOS: Android comes out as clear winner to me. However, all of the choices in one way or another require sharing a lot of personal information in the Cloud run by their respective corporations. Let alone Blackberry's centralized mail servers; there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google. While Android is less intrusive than iOS, the lack of privacy remains quite annoying no matter how comfortable it is to have your own calendar and contacts centralized. In 2011 is there any option, other than living in a cave, to keep one's own life private while enjoying the wonders of modern smartphone apps?"

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478 comments

Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (3, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131168)

And I'm serious. While not as versatile towards own-hosted solutions as the old Windows Mobiles, it's still light years beyond Android and iOS. You can easily use your own Exchange server to sync and share your contacts, calendar and other stuff, which gives you true privacy. It also doesn't leak data to Google like Android does, it doesn't have the malware problem that Android has [techcrunch.com] and the phone itself is a full smart phone with an great UI (Windows Mobile somewhat started lacking in this in recent years).

The reason for this is simple too. Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy. In fact, they have never really cared about personal data the way Google does. All they want to do is sell you the software and be done with it. Google, on the other hand, gives you the software for free but then keeps tracking your every move. I rather choose the first one, but i guess it's everyone's own choice. I do value my privacy though.

The only time when you need contact with other servers is to download and install apps, which imo is a stupid decision fueled by iOS and Android doing it that way. Old Windows Mobiles always allowed you to install apps the way you wanted, the desktop Windows way. However, I guess that provides some extra security.

Nokia has also just unveiled Nokia Lumia 800 [nokia.co.uk] , which looks really slick and has been praised by the people who have tested it. Personally I'm going to wait until it's released and read a few more user reviews, but I think that's going to be my next smart phone.

There is also Nokia's MeeGo-based linux phone, N9 [nokia.com] which is really slick and has all the features you need, too. But support for that might be worse in the future, as Nokia is mostly going to do WP7 phones now.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131190)

As is running CyanogenMod on a rooted Android phone.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131688)

I was going to say any Android device without the "with Google" trademark.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (4, Funny)

PerlJedi (2406408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131230)

It also doesn't leak data to Google like Android does, it doesn't have the malware problem that Android has [techcrunch.com]

The only reason Windows phone 7 doesn't have the malware issues is that there are only like 2 people in north america that use them. If Windows phone 7 ever gets even 50% of the north american users of either iOS or android,it will have such a malware problem that I'd bet you'd be better off putting your social security number on TV than carrying one.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (4, Interesting)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131278)

I seriously doubt that, since it has a locked-down app store and sandboxed applications (fairly restricted API's, no native code.) It should be at least as secure as iPhone OS, if not more so.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (2)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131322)

iPhone also has security and malware problems. The perfect software doesn't exist, so WP might have some security problems too

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131692)

Citation needed.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1, Insightful)

PerlJedi (2406408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131434)

I seriously doubt that, since it has a locked-down app store and sandboxed applications (fairly restricted API's, no native code.) It should be at least as secure as iPhone OS, if not more so.

All software (iOS included) is vulnerable. I would think WP7 will probably have more problems than iOS on the basis that Microsoft has basically always put speed to market above quality or stability of software.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131644)

...on the basis that Microsoft has basically always put speed to market above quality or stability of software.

Is that why Microsoft's flagship operating system was Windows XP for like a decade before they finally came out with Vista?

Yeah, that "speed to market" thing was really not that obvious.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

PerlJedi (2406408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131708)

A decade? Windows XP was 2003, so there hasn''t even been a decade, and windows has already released not one, but two entire remakes of their OS since then. And Vista was a huge success too. How long between vista and 7? how long between 7 and 8? How about windows 98, me, and 2000?

And lets look at microsoft office... Have you ever played with Office's internals via OLE or Active-X? Granted it has been 8 years since I have, but then it was a clusterf#$!k

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131304)

That could be easily reworded for Linux ;-)

But in fact, by design it wont. Since it uses the app store model, there won't be trojaned applications like with third party Android stores (where most of the Android malware comes from). iOS has a large North American userbase but doesn't have a malware problem. I don't see why WP7 would get either.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131306)

If Windows phone 7 ever gets even 50% of the north american users of either iOS or android,it will have such a malware problem that I'd bet you'd be better off putting your social security number on TV than carrying one.

Can you explain how you come to that conclusion? Do you have any evidence at all to support such a claim or are you just an anti-MS troll?

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131314)

Carriers make money by selling you services and sell the information they gather to get better at selling you services. Even if you dont get a subsidized/contract phone, every company involved in providing those services increases revenue by gathering information. Thats assuming its not already required by laws.

If you use the internet you're being probably tracked by companies like google and facebook anyway even without using their services. Apple and Microsoft also understand how useful this information is.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131336)

Either fill in the [citation needed] or you're just spouting very tired 10-year-old anti-MS FUD; which quite frankly is a boring topic these days.

At least do enough research to tell us what security holes Windows Phone 7 suffers from, or tell us from which tank of thin air you pulled the statistic "2 people in north america" from.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131464)

At least do enough research to tell us what security holes Windows Phone 7 suffers from, or tell us from which tank of thin air you pulled the statistic "2 people in north america" from.

I find it interesting that some people use marketshare as a quality measure, when marketshare is largely irrelevant in terms of the quality of the product offering. For example look at the large marketshare of Windows and the iPhone in their respective markets compared with OSX and WP7 in those markets. I doubt there are that many people who would put Windows and the iPhone in one quality-bucket and OSX and WP7 in another.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131494)

True that. Windows 7 is slowly becoming the next Windowx XP... slowly. And WP7... well, it's still pretty much not the mainstream which means it is (1) not targeted so much and (2) too young a product series to make summary judgements let alone presumptions.

But you know? Going on the reputation of the maker, I have to cast a reasonable amount of doubt and apprehension about anything coming from Microsoft. That said, they are the least likely to exploit a customer in the way Google or Apple are known to do. The carriers, of course, will always exploit the customer.

But will there be a custom version of WP7 out there to enable users to review and tweak the OS on their phones? I trust Android more for that reason... I can feel a bit more comfortable with peer-reviewed tweaks and fixes in the cyanogen mod series. I seriously doubt there will be anything like that... but then again, there are Windows "Lite" versions all over the net... so maybe.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (2)

shaitand (626655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131732)

"or you're just spouting very tired 10-year-old anti-MS FUD"

10-year-old may be correct but the way you said it gives the false impression it ended 10yrs ago rather than that the problems have persisted for 10yrs or more.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (3, Interesting)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131508)

Bullshit. Android's malware issue is there only due to Google doing a lousy job removing harmful apps from the market. Would Microsoft do an equally shitty job if they had a bigger market share? No one knows, but it seems unlikely as their terms are far stricter. Their app store just reached 40,000 apps, though. That's pretty good for a platform with supposedly no users, of which many seem fairly happy with their phones.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (4, Informative)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131618)

Every single story I've read so far about malware on Android was people either installing apps off the internet or through a third-party app store. How is Google not doing a good job removing harmful apps from the market?

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (3, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131632)

Every single story I've read so far about malware on Android was people either installing apps off the internet or through a third-party app store. How is Google not doing a good job removing harmful apps from the market?

That's basically just as true for Windows on desktop. Still people on Slashdot bash Microsoft's security, while it's the users installing them from untrusted sources.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

PerlJedi (2406408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131622)

Would Microsoft do an equally shitty job if they had a bigger market share? No one knows, but it seems unlikely as their terms are far stricter.

Because Microsoft has proven their attention to detail, and drive to produce stable and secure software? Microsoft never leaves 0-day flaws unpatched, and surely they'll show that same tireless dedication to policing their app store.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (3, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131616)

The only reason Windows phone 7 doesn't have the malware issues is that there are only like 2 people in north america that use them

Remember when that was the line everybody used about Apple computers?

"The only reason there's no malware for Macs (or Linux) is because nobody uses it! Yeah, that's the ticket..."

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (2)

PerlJedi (2406408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131716)

And at this point do you believe that there is no malware for either linux or Mac?

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (5, Insightful)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131274)

Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy.

That's why Microsoft got a lot of criticism because of the phoning home feature of WGA right? Or that's why MS gives your info to the government even without your consent. Or that's why Microsoft collected PC and phones locations in ther Web map services...

You should inform yourself a little more, all that glitters is not gold

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (4, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131344)

Or that's why MS gives your info to the government even without your consent.

Like Google and Apple does too, and every other US company. It's the law, they cant do anything about it. But since you can install and use Exchange with WP7, you can minimize effect of that. Not so with Google or Apple, which want all your data.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131730)

Or that's why MS gives your info to the government even without your consent.

Like Google and Apple does too, and every other US company. It's the law, they cant do anything about it. But since you can install and use Exchange with WP7, you can minimize effect of that. Not so with Google or Apple, which want all your data.

Unfortunately it isn't even the law. US companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft tend to give out your information whenever the government asks, court order or not to buddy up the feds.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131362)

You should inform yourself a little more, all that glitters is not gold

Win doesn't glitter, maybe Mac does, but I don't think either of them give a damn about you or your privacy.

As for setting up an exchange server, how much does that cost? I bet it isn't cheap. But you can set up a mail server on Linux for free. And it would probably be a lot less trouble. I can't stand outlook.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (-1, Troll)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131292)

I'm not surprised a Microsoft shilling would think that.

Anyone got opinions theyre not being paid for?

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131706)

I'm not surprised a Microsoft shilling would think that.

Anyone got opinions theyre not being paid for?

Ah the old 'if it's something positive about MS he must be being paid', accompanied by the distinct lack of any kind of rebuttal. Troll fail.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131300)

And I'm serious. While not as versatile towards own-hosted solutions as the old Windows Mobiles, it's still light years beyond Android and iOS. You can easily use your own Exchange server to sync and share your contacts, calendar and other stuff, which gives you true privacy.

Is it really that easy to set up your own Exchange server? Does everyone around here keep a Windows server in a coloc somewhere so they can run Exchange?

The reason for this is simple too. Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy.

Really? Always?

http://grep.law.harvard.edu/articles/02/08/08/0923231.shtml [harvard.edu]
http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/users-outraged-over-windows-live-privacy-violations [networkworld.com]
http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/02/microsft-investigates-hotmail-privacy-breach.ars [arstechnica.com]

And that's just what I found in a quick google search.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131330)

I didn't say setting up Exchange server would be easy. If you want easy, you use MS/Google/Apple's hosted services. If you want to host it yourself and gain extra privacy, that's when you install your own solutions.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (2, Interesting)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131594)

I'd put it at a medium level of difficulty. I run a personal Exchange server and am able to share appointments and schedules with my wife and access my calendar from my tablet, phone and computer, all without having to rely on someone else or about my privacy. And once set up, it just runs.

Note: I don't use it to send or receive external e-mail, I only use the calendaring service.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131704)

I do the same thing on Google's server, but I don't schedule appointments that involves watching underage midget porn. Solves the problem.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131602)

Always when I hear or see something positive about WP7, I get a knee-jerk reaction that makes me think about the 1 billion US dollars [businessweek.com] MS payed Nokia to promote their new OS. If they have that much cash to spend, why not waste it on some forum trolls and reviewing sites as well?

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131374)

The reason for this is simple too. Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy.

Except for when it got into some trouble with the Federal Trade Commission for having the "private" data available through any web browser. Google Microsoft Wallet and Microsoft Passport. They haven't always respected privacy. And, if you look at the security choices they have made over the years, they are just now beginning to protect customers' data on their own machines a little better.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131378)

Microsoft and Google both have products that relies on ad based revenue model, so you cant expect them to be privacy friendly. On the other hand, Apple's business model is mostly around selling hardware & software products and services. So i think they would be the most privacy friendly company. There was an interview with Steve Jobs where he said that Apple is super conservative about privacy issues.

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131400)

I don't think this guy deserves to be modded troll. Informative post modded as -1 troll just because it says good things about Microsoft. Stay classy, Slashdot!

Re:Windows Phone 7 is a good solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131724)

Not to mention that Android is a patent nightmare. Google willfully violated Microsoft, Apple and numerous other companies patents and copyrights when they built Android. And for what? So they can steal your personal information and sell it to the highest bidder, even if they ar e in china or russia. Just say NO to google! [microsoft.com]

I'm curious, "OP" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131196)

Why does Android come out as a clear winner for you, and why do you think that iOS is intrusive?

Re:I'm curious, "OP" (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131340)

I will second the AC's point - why is Android a "clear winner" while iOS is "more intrusive"?

Not that I necessarily disagree, I am just interested in how you came to that conclusion.

FWIW, you don't have to share your contacts and calendars "in the cloud" in iOS - it's entirely optional, and you can sync solely through your home machine if you like. If you don't want to share personal info with Apple at all then you can set up a throwaway email account for your Apple ID and top it up using iTunes Gift Cards if you want to spend any more on the store (you *do not* need to give them a credit card at any stage).

Then turn off all the location services, and I'm not seeing how iOS is any more or less intrusive than Android is.

YMMV, of course. Pick the best phone for the job - if you're buying new, the Galaxy II S and the iPhone 4S are both excellent if you decide to go Android/iOS.

Re:I'm curious, "OP" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131642)

Android is pretty tied to a Google Account (I don't know if you can use the device without setting one up), whereas iOS doesn't integrate much with the Cloud wrt your apple account (and in fact I don't think there's a way to get an iOS device to remember my damned apple account password so that I can actually purchase music without switching over to my password manager and copying it every time).

Smart phones are not private (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131200)

OK, so you say you're concerned about the security of your list of contact phone numbers and addresses. Yet when you want to call the contact, you ask your cellular provider via the GSM network to establish the connection. When you email the contact you use the 4G network to access the internet, and send your email to them, secured only on the hop between your phone and your SMTP server, but otherwise probably being transmitted in cleartext. When you bring up their address in the map, you give Google the locations of every place you view. And every where you go, whether it be to a calendar appointment or just out for a stroll, the cell phone is broadcasting your identity and approximate location to anyone interested in such things.

I think distrusting Google wouldn't be first on the list of privacy actions to take.

Not having a cell phone would go a lot further protecting your privacy, but you said you don't want the cave option. Get a Kindle Fire (wi-fi only, only when you want it), root it, and add only GPL software you trust, including a SIP client. Carry a Sprint wi-fi hotspot, turning it on only on your terms. Or carry a dumb phone (Sony Ericsson makes one) then use Bluetooth to tether the smart device. Instead of the Kindle Fire, you could use an iPod touch.

You could even carry an iPhone. To the best of my knowledge, Apple isn't scraping my contact list. Yet. I think.

Re:Smart phones are not private (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131264)

That's just nitpicking. You could say the same way that by design Internet isn't private because your ISP can potentially snoop into your connection. The problem isn't ISPs (remember, it's all decentralized still), but third parties like huge ad networks that collect so much specific data about everyone. Google included. That's why it's good to eliminate those first. You could go further and start using only HTTPS browsing and PGP'd email, but that brings it's own challenges.

Also, when you send email, the connection isn't necessarily insecure. Most SMTP servers support secure connection now. Likewise, you can install specific map programs on smartphones and never need to give Google your data. Yes, it does cost, but it gives you that extra privacy.

Re:Smart phones are not private (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131398)

I don't disagree, just pointing out that using any network connectivity gives up privacy, as does carrying a continually broadcasting RF transmitter. The cave is truly the best option for privacy, it's just not a terribly social way to live. ( 'Course, with the cave option you have to have your lackeys bring you porn videos, and there's always the pissed off Marines who don't like that you aren't carrying a cell phone...)

Anyway, his real first step toward privacy should be installing AdBlock, NoScript, and Ghostery on his mobile browser.

Re:Smart phones are not private (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131518)

Sort of, like walking in public gives up some privacy because you can be observed at any moment, but it's usually a bunch of people who each only see a tiny fraction of your walk.

In the case of CCTVs, the privacy issue is much more serious, because now one single observer can piece together the full history of your walk if they want.

Re:Smart phones are not private (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131372)

When it comes to privacy, I would have to eliminate Android. The very purpose of Android is to farm info via Google. Contrary to the open source stance, Google's business model is collecting and selling information.

Windows might be a good choice. I haven't heard much yet regarding their newest offering and privacy but given their past stance as a provider of the OS for profit rather than selling your data, I would think at least in the privacy arena, MS themselves should be ok. Malware wise, I also haven't heard of a lot of issues yet regarding their mobile offering. Ironically it's obscurity (read: lack of popularity) may actually provide it some safety in that regard.

Apple is also a possible selection if you don't mind the walled garden. Apple's curated garden also tends to keep the instances of malware down so the possibility of getting your information mined via third party app seems to be far less than Android. Apple is also like Microsoft in that regard that they aren't in the business of selling your personal data.

RIM is another that is much like MS and Apple in that they sell hardware for profit. The only drawback with RIM is that you must pipe your data through RIM's servers. They have the added benefit of being vetted by many corporations so that may be a deciding factor.

Of the 4 I'd either choose Apple or MS based on your criteria (arguments about open source/evil brouhaha, etc. disregarded as they weren't part of your question).

Re:Smart phones are not private (4, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131626)

Google's business model is collecting and selling information.

Not true. Google's business model is collecting users and selling some advertising. They do not sell personal information, and there is no way for advertisers to get access to your anonymised profile. Wired said: [wired.co.uk]

"For most of its existence, Google has largely decided that what you do on its properties -- such as search and Gmail -- will not be used for its ad program, which shows banner ads on third-party websites. That program uses tracking cookies on more than a million sites to create an anonymous profile of you in order to show you more targeted ads (click here to see your profile). By contrast, the ads you see in Gmail and in Google Search are targeted by the search terms you use, or the words in recent e-mails.

To date, the only Google site that feeds into the marketing profile is YouTube. Google has long emphasised that it won't use your search history to create targeted ads and that they use different cookies so the marketing cookie can't be matched with your Google user profile cookie -- despite the temptation of untold advertising riches for the taking by combining and mining such a rich vein of data."

Re:Smart phones are not private (3, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131700)

Of course they sell information. It may be anonymous but it is still your information. Claiming otherwise is not truthful.

You should probably post all of the context of that info as you seem to have cherry picked the ones that put things in the best light.

To date, the only Google site that feeds into the marketing profile is YouTube. Google has long emphasised that it won't use your search history to create targeted ads and that they use different cookies so the marketing cookie can't be matched with your Google user profile cookie -- despite the temptation of untold advertising riches for the taking by combining and mining such a rich vein of data.

So will Google+, with its likely very rich data about users' interests, feed into that marketing profile -- now or in the future?

The answer: "Google+ is not part of the Google Display Network" a spokesman said. But that's not to say it won't ever feed that network. YouTube used to live outside that wall as well.

"We currently do not offer advertising in Google+, but will continue to look for new ways for businesses to engage users in the project," the spokesman said.

Which is a short way of saying, "Yes, we will have ads, but first we need to get some users."

Both companies have already wandered into a gray zone by automatically opting users into a systems that uses their "Likes" and "+1 on other websites, so that when you visit a site like CNN.com, you can see which of your friends like that site. Those votes can also show up on ads from companies that your friends have given a social vote too. (You turn this off here for Google, and here for Facebook)

All arguments aside, Google's primary business is information. They make money from selling it. Trying to claim otherwise is disingenuous.

Re:Smart phones are not private (4, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131396)

Apple and Microsoft would be worse than Google because Google at least (a) has caught NSLs and (b) published statistics on government data requests. Yes, Google is better at trying to sell you stuff, but that's mostly harmless. And paradoxically Google's skill at selling you stuff is why they don't sell the raw data to anybody else.

Your phone company would however be much worse than all three, given the depth of their existing relationship with authorities. In addition, your phone company has the least competence in advertising, making them the greatest chance of selling your raw data to advertisers.

Ergo, it doesn't much matter what phone you use. Worry more about the carrier.

Re:Smart phones are not private (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131636)

When I call someone I transmit only their PSTN address, not their name, birthday, mailing address, email address, etc. Addresses are necessarily public, at least within the context of their own network, but all the relations between those addresses, and the metadata stored with them, does not go out every time I use them.

Security is NOT an issue with The Cloud. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131218)

Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

Re:Security is NOT an issue with The Cloud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131406)

And just like the Good Manager that you are, you also have no reason to doubt the security and privacy of your desktop. Never mind that hundreds of software vendors can push arbitrary code on it at any time, never mind that the software it runs is probably riddled with backdoors, loopholes, and programming errors, never mind that a lot of the information you put on it goes out over the network anyway. It's sitting on your desk and you turn it on, therefore it must be secure!

Re:Security is NOT an issue with The Cloud. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131438)

It was funny the first time, but this is like 25th time I've seen this re-pasted here...

How about just saying no, when the phone ask? (4, Insightful)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131234)

Any reason you could not just get an Android phone and then just say no, when it ask you for permission for your location data? It only ask once.

Then you just need not to add your google account, and you will be free of the cloud.

Re:How about just saying no, when the phone ask? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131524)

On my phone at least, you have to enter a google account before you can put anything in the calendar. You can turn off syncing after that, but you have to enter a google account to begin with.

Re:How about just saying no, when the phone ask? (5, Interesting)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131658)

You can easily use a 3rd party calendar app.

I also just discovered Permission Denied [addictivetips.com] this morning. It (theoretically) revokes specific permissions from already installed apps. Handy for when you want an app that asks for location permission and such but you know it doesn't actually need it. Whether or not it actually does what it says it does, I don't know...

Re:How about just saying no, when the phone ask? (2)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131682)

Yeah, I don't see the problem with Android. I set up a separate Google account just for my phone, turned off syncing before inputting any personal information, and installed Droidwall to block third party software. I also, and this is taking things further than probably needed, bought a disposable pre-paid credit card for all of my Android market purchases.

A firewall is an absolutely necessary step if you intend to install anything on your phone. Almost everything in the Android marketplace seems to want internet access for no discernible reason, and I'm sure that the situation is no different with iOS - permissions just aren't visible there. This is so ubiquitous that I wouldn't even consider a smartphone platform at this point that didn't have some similar firewall available. Frustrating, because I really wanted a Nokia N9.

Follow the money (android profits off of you) (3, Insightful)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131244)

It's not about what is stored in the cloud. It's about what the provider does with this info, and what their motivations are. Rim, Apple, and Microsoft are all hardware or software vendors. Their goal is to sell you a phone and make you use it / like it.

Google is an information vendor their goal is to give you a phone / phone OS so you use it, then spy on you to find out what you like and where you go, and sell that information to others to make a profit.

So if you're concerned about who is intrusive, then don't use Android.

Re:Follow the money (android profits off of you) (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131368)

Your comment is the most trollishly naive bullshit I've ever read here. All of the above and/or their middlemen(the service providers) have motives to aggregate and quantify data collected from their users, and they can and will sell it. The only variables are type and amount of data they collect.

I remember when Android was first anounced and Slashdot was having big circle-jerks over it, saying that people were finally free to do whatever they wanted with their phones. I laughed and told you all, "you stupid fucks, the carriers will lock them down however they like."

But, but...CyanogenMod!

Voids your warranty, dumbasses. Not a smart thing to do with a contract either way.

But back to addressing the summary. Yeah. I'll stick with my dumbphone and have the patience and self-control to not fidget and shuffle until I can experience the 'net at home.

Re:Follow the money (android profits off of you) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131376)

Nonsense. RIM, Apple, and Microsoft are perfectly fine with selling your information for a little extra cash as well.

then dont flash gapps (2, Informative)

trschober (1192951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131256)

just flash CM7 and don't flash gapps, use an alternative market to get your apps, was that so hard to find out? CM7 is fully usable without google propietary apps, you just have to make some compromises (no gmail app, no google navigation, no official market, etc..)

Re:then dont flash gapps (1)

lars_boegild_thomsen (632303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131506)

Even standard Android can do this. Some of the pre-installed applications will be quite useless really, but most of core functionality will work quite fine without a Google account.

No, that is the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131260)

Why would you make a device designed to prevent social unrest via surveillance that respected privacy? Silly consumer, you think too much.

Want Privacy? Get your own BES (4, Informative)

RedLeg (22564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131262)

RIM solved this problem. If you don't want your data on somebody else's server, set up your own BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) with YOUR security policies.

Taint cheap, but you gets what you pays for.......

The consumer blackberries connect to BESs operated by the carriers. My corporate owned one connects to OURS, and the company has all kinds of flexibility to impose policy, remote wipe, etc.

Red

Re:Want Privacy? Get your own BES (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131568)

Uhm... you do know a BES still connects through RIM's network and servers right?

Re:Want Privacy? Get your own BES (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131598)

Yes, but it is encrypted from the BlackBerry to the BES. All RIM sees is the encrypted data.

Re:Want Privacy? Get your own BES (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131586)

We run BES Express for free....
http://us.blackberry.com/business/software/besx/

Re:Want Privacy? Get your own BES (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131674)

Not necessarily expensive either.. BES Express is free, or you can go with MDaemon BlackBerry Edition..

Don't need iCloud for iOS. (3, Insightful)

forevermore (582201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131266)

I didn't have to create an iCloud account to use my iPhone. I don't sync my location, contacts, mail, etc. with iCloud. I back my phone up to my own computer. I struggle to see how this is more intrusive than Android, which required that I sync everything with Google. Granted, I *do* sync everything on my iPhone with Google, but that's another question entirely.

Android OS isn't a smart choice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131310)

Android OS demands too much of its user--the software is always in the way or eliciting attention--updates are few and far between, app support is mediocre due to fragmentation, and malware for the platform is already too common. Google is basically out of control on this.

Androids don't have to sync (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131350)

Even though I have my phone set up to sync my calendar so I can set appointments and meetings on my laptop and have it reflected on my phone, it still asks you whenever you make an appointment if you want that to be a Phone-only appointment, or a Google Calendar appointment which will be synched (but even then only manually unless you've enabled autosync in the menu). As far as I can tell Phone-only is the default and cannot be changed, so even if on a particular phone "Calendar Sync" is on by default, you'll have to specifically make a Google Calendar appointment for it to ever leave your phone.

You can likewise turn off contact syncing. When I got my phone, all those syncs were set according to what I wanted as part of the setup process. They aren't hidden opt-out features, though that may depend on manufacturer/carrier tinkering, since they all like to streamline the setup process.

Blackberry is the most respectiv (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131352)

specially with the mail centralized server, and this is why they get some issues with some governements

Where is iOS intrusive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131380)

I don't get it. By default, you just sync your iOS device with your own PC. What's intrusive about that?
You can use iCloud, sync with Google or use location services. But you really don't have to.

You know you don't HAVE to use Sync right? (4, Informative)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131388)

You can tell Android's built-in Sync to not touch your contacts, appointments, email & then use the generic (& built-in!) calender & email applications that do exactly the same things over standard protocols...

There was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131404)

and it was called Symbian. Too bad Nokia's bumbling arrogance killed it. You could do everything in the privacy of your own bluetooth/wireless connections. No Big Brother, no selling your soul to Cupertino required. Alas . . .

Sim Card (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131424)

I have an HTC Inspire with ATT. I can take out the sim card and use google voice with wifi. You can also use a gps spoofer app with the sim card inserted and it will report your location as being where ever you want. Otherwise, the main problem is that when you buy a contract you are buying time on someone else's network. They have omniscience when they want it, basically.

About BlackBerry's "centralized mail server" (5, Informative)

thirty-seven (568076) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131430)

In spite of that, email communication and web communication is encrypted/decrypted on the BlackBerry smartphone itself, so RIM (the company that does BlackBerry) can't snoop into your data contents even if they wanted to. That's why some authoritarian countries around the world couldn't quite understand - they demanded RIM hand over the secret keys to let them read any message contents, which they just assumed RIM must have, even though they don't. Similarly, with the riots in Britain earlier this year, the authorities complained that the rioters were co-ordinating using BlackBerry phones, and they couldn't intercept those communications. To me, that's a strong recommendation for a BlackBerry if you want security and privacy.

Re:About BlackBerry's "centralized mail server" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131662)

Yes, if one wants secure communications at a consumer price point, then Blackberry is really the only true choice. At the bottom of the list would be anything made by Apple, which- when caught not only collecting personal customer information and all sorts of personal data, without permission or disclosure and stored for years- blatantly stated that they intended to continue doing so, but now with the caveat that they will "only retain it for a year".
"The controversy surrounding Apple’s location-tracking stems from a discovery by two data scientists, who found that a file stored on iPhones and iPads (“consolidated.db”) contains a detailed history of geodata accompanied with time stamps.

From Wired - iPhone’s Location-Data Collection Can’t Be Turned Off - Brian X. Chen April 25, 2011
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/04/iphone-location-opt-out/

"Apple claimed in its letter last year that the geodata is stored on the device, then anonymized and transmitted back to Apple every 12 hours, using a secure Wi-Fi connection (if one is available). Although it’s thorough, Apple’s explanation does not address why the stored geodata continues to live on the device permanently after it’s transmitted to Apple, nor does it address why geodata collection appears to persist even when Location Services is turned off. Google does similar geodata collection for its own location-services database. However, it notifies Android users clearly in a prompt when geodata collection will occur, and it also gives users a way to opt out. Also, Android devices do not permanently store geodata after transmitting it to Google."

"While the collected geodata doesn’t reveal specific addresses for locations you’ve visited, it can still leave a pretty rich trail of a user’s movements. Combine this data with other pieces of information on the iPhone, like your messages and photos, and you’ve got a device that knows more about you than you do yourself, says The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal. Madrigal tested an iPhone forensics program called Lantern, which stitches together contacts, text messages and geodata into a neat interface that reconstructed a timeline of his life."

“Immediately after trying out Lantern, I enabled the iPhone’s passcode and set it to erase all data on the phone,” Madrigal said. “This thing remembers more about where I’ve been and what I’ve said than I do, and I’m damn sure I don’t want it falling into anyone’s hands.”

android? (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131448)

Depends on what you consider private, but I would put the Android phone last because of the tight Google integration. At least on the iPhone you can have everything local, not synced to the cloud.

The days of privacy are over for the most part. If you are using cloud services, you can be sure your data is being mined in some way.

Define "Working Decently" (4, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131454)

there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google.

It is perfectly workable to plug in your old SIM with phone numbers stored on it and use them from an Android phone without ever setting up a Google account. It is also possible to add fully featured contacts and calendar appointments locally on your phone without sharing them with Google.

If by "working decently" you mean the phone should seamlessly sync with your other devices through the cloud, you have the option of setting up your own SyncML server, and most manufacturers also include MS Exchange ActiveSync as well.

Re:Define "Working Decently" (1)

linuxhack (413769) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131664)

I have never set up an account on my Nexus One in the 1.5 years I have had it. For the most part, it works just fine.

But I cannot and have never been able to locally setup calendar appointments. I would love for you to tell me I am wrong, but I have no working calendar on this phone.

K9 mail works awesome with my own email server. I can set alarms. But I really could use a working calendar (everything that is add-on seems to use Google calendars as a back-end, and/or requires obtaining it via Google's app market, which obviously I can never partake in).

Otherwise, life is good.

Why not Symbian? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131456)

Sure it is a dead OS, but it's got a few years of support (Four solid years if you believe Nokia and Accenture). You can get a brand new unlocked Symbian^3 smartphone for less than $400: http://www.amazon.com/Nokia-Touchscreen-Featuring-Navigation-Camera--U-S/dp/B003ZX7RL4/ [amazon.com] The N8 has a great camera, better than almost any other smartphone out there, an FM receiver as well as transmitter, USB on the go, and a micro HDMI out port. You can install and run whatever apps you like. you can tether it out of the box as-is via USB or bluetooth. sure some third-party apps want to call home, but the phone warns you when they do, and it's easy to disallow/disable.

Product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131466)

As a wise man once said, "if you're not paying for the product, YOU are the product". This is true of all of the "free" services out there like GMail, Hotmail, etc. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

If you're prepared to go without the free products, you can achieve privacy. Just look at what VMware is doing with the "virtual phone" on Android - do you really think corporations will accept their data leaking to the cloud without their permission?

Nothing stops you from using commercial or private Exchange or IMAP providers that never touch Google. Nothing stops you from not sharing your contacts with Google. Synch can easily be turned off - I do this whenever I'm traveling internationally and my phone doesn't stop working.

You get what you pay for.

Android without Google (2)

lars_boegild_thomsen (632303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131480)

While I admit I haven't tried, it should be possible to run an Android phone without ever signing into Google - indeed without a Google account whatsoever. The email application support POP, IMAP or Exchange, the contacts can be synced with SyncML or Exchange (and a few other options I am sure), applications can be sideloaded, IM+ does a pretty good job with Jabber etc. Surely it would make it somewhat more complicated but I am quite sure it is possible.

In other words - Google offer a way for people to run the smart phone without any knowledge about servers and with an extremely simple setup (enter your google account once), but it is in no way forced upon you - so I think it's actually quite acceptable.

Privacy can only follow from freedom (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131534)

The problem is that most of the uneducated masses don't care about privacy and don't see a need for it. So they go for the number of Apps or GHz when purchasing a new mobile device, without caring that this device is a fully functional computer with all sorts of sensors that is connected to some sort of network 24/7!

There were a few attempts at true Linux mobile devices, but even the last two devices with potential (the Nokia N900 in 2009 and N9 this year) only got a lukewarm reception mostly due to crappy marketing and not enough people promoting truly open platforms that let users know what their devices are actually doing in the background.

The N9 is still up for graps. There is even an independent project called Mer [merproject.org] being worked at that aims to be fully open, based on Meego, feel free to join if you have some coding skills.

That's a tough one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131542)

Respect is hard to come by. If nothing else, go find a woman who slept with a smartphone ask her what she thinks.

Welcome to the 21st Century (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131544)

Welcome to the 21st Century where you are marketed to by companies 24x7 in an attempt to sell products and make "the man" richer while you get poorer. As an added slap in the face, you get to pay for a data plan that facilitates the collection of your personal information that can be sold to other companies that can perform targeted marketing campaigns. So essentially you pay to companies to sell your personal information. Look at all the companies that benefit. Your wireless carrier, Google/Apple/Microsoft and

Enjoy your smart phone and by the way, would you be interested in a new pair of shoes from Payless because I see you emailed your wife about needing a new pair of shoes yesterday.

No Google account or activation needed. (4, Interesting)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131546)

Let alone Blackberry's centralized mail servers; there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google.

You have got only partial information somewhere.

You can have pure Android smartphone, without any demands to share your privacy with Google. Period.

If you want to use Android market (market.android.com) then you need to activate your new phone first time to it. It does not mean you need to input your personal email address to it or bond your personal gmail to it. You only need to create a one for your Android market store profile.

You do not need to use other Google services at all.
- Not GMail for email, you can choose what ever just offers POP3/IMAP connection
- Not Google Calender, you can stick what ever just gives standard vcard sharing, even sync manually
- Not Google Contacts (GMail contacts), you can disallow the syncing contacts with Android profile account and keep them in phone only or in SIM card. You can even from contact book sync them with standard vcard to microSD and sync manually.

You don't either need youtube account or anything. Actually you don't even need a Android Market profile if you are willing to get your applications somewhere else than Android Market. Like Amazon store or any other third party who you can trust.
Android Market just makes it easy to install applications (via phone or any browser) to your phones and especially buy them (even that Google changed 24h return time to 15 minutes).

Corporations can at one step totally skip whole Android activation with Google. They can activate the phone to their own exchange environment (I could thing same thing would be possible to do with Linux servers).
So corporation IT department can manage the phone without Google knowing anything at all.

I have used GMail from the beginning when it was just in invitation mode.
I bought my first Android phone 9 months ago, it is a very cheap one (107€ with 2€/month for unlimited data speed and amount and the phone supports 7.2Mbits connection and nearly full speed (750-800KB/s) as hot-spot for computers with ping being 70-90 by avarage.

Before that I owned only a Nokia phones. Symbian before Symbian was terrible, I never used it for any things, even it was classified as smartphone (without touchscreen).
And now, I use Google services very much. Why? Because they integrate very well with the Android and I can really get many benefits from it.
If wanted, I could have kept contacts off from GMail or my calender off from there. But I don't have a home server what to keep online all the time or I don't want to start syncing contacts and other data with my own rented server.
If I would have home server, I would really use it for every thing what Android support.

Did you know that Microsoft has paid to at least one carrier in US to sell Android phones, on what every Google service is replaced with Microsoft own services and user can not install Google services back?
So customer is tied to Microsoft Bing search, Bing maps, Hotmail, Calender etc?

People believe that Android forces customer to Google. That simply ain't true. It is just the easiest and actually most secure way to use smartphone.

Google search
Picasa
Google Calender
Google Reader
Youtube
GMail
Google Docs
Google Maps .....

Google offers so many features and none of those need to even be used with your private contacts, emails, etc. You can just disable the sync or add a new offline account for those in phone.

When it comes to privacy, easiness and many other features. Android just is best, and not even Microsoft have nothing to offer in Windows Phone (7.5 yet... lets see what future shows us).

A 2-year old phone might be your answer... (4, Insightful)

sombragris (246383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131562)

And even though it was launched in 2009, it offers a boatload of features that other phones don't even try to match: the Nokia N900 [wikipedia.org] .

Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy? (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131564)

Depends, what do you mean by privacy? You encrypt communications, that's one level of privacy, the real issue in my mind isn't the phone, it's the service you use.
No matter how you handle the communications there is still the issue of the account being tied to you, you have to pay for it some how and you need an address for the phone to registered to.
Gift cards and prepaid VISA type cards won't work, they either get refused or require some personal information which brings me to the only true privacy I can think of, use another persons account, either by agreement which still ties you to it, steal it, or create a factious account which is more work than you want to get into and doesn't allow you to be "social".

I'm sure all of this is way above what you're looking for so I won't get into facial and voice recognition which brings me back to "Depends, what do you mean by privacy?".

In your case don't use outside services like Google or Facebook, ever, just don't, and get over "The Cloud" which is a euphemism for collected database to be used by everyone else including you.
Sync with your local computer keep the info encrypted on the phone and on the computer, but when it comes down to it you can only control your own data, not the data you share with others, which leaves you with 2 choices.
Get over it or get off The Grid.

No data plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131592)

Don't subscribe to a data plan. Problem solved.

FDroid and friends (3, Informative)

Boltronics (180064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131596)

Install FDroid, K-9 Mail and Firefox (from the FDroid repositories of course). You can likely even use CyanogenMod without installing all the Android Marketplace if you want - I do this for my HP TouchPad. No need to sync anything with Google.

You don't need a google account to use android. (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131606)

I will second the lengthy post above, I have been using android phones for a few years now without sharing any data on the cloud, and it's not hard. use POP3/IMAP for email in the regular email client, and don't specify a google account for anything. Everything still works just fine. You can sync your contacts and calendar and such to your local PC with the sync software, that's your backup. No internet services involved.

A warning though. If you decide to install Google+, it will log you on for all other apps on the phone and sync your contacts from Google+ to your phonebook without asking you. When I did that once, I got a ton of duplicate and unwanted contacts in my phone. The people I have phone numbers for are a very small subset of people I have on social networks.

Google+ is a failed product at this point anyhow.

tldr; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38131614)

no

sad really, all this tech and the best people can do with it is spy on each other.

No (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131660)

As opposed to the world of PCs, there is basically no free-software alternative for "smartphones," so you cannot be sure that any of them will respect your privacy beyond normal voice calls (if that). That's because mobile phone users are much more like subscribers than owners, with the latter being the telcos. And as long as there is nothing to prevent the telcos from acting like Google, Twitter and Facebook -- using people's personal information and activities for their own gain -- how can smartphones users expect to be treated any better?
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