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Russia's New Secure Android Tablet Keeps Data From Google

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the da-ist-gut dept.

Android 127

wiredmikey writes "It seems Russia's defense ministry doesn't trust Google's tablet computers: a new Android device presented to a top Russian government official boasts encryption and works with software and a global positioning system made in Russia, the AFP reports. The OS has all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system but none of its hidden features that send users' private data to Google, addressing concerns that data stored by Google could slip into the hands of the US government and expose some of their most secret and sensitive communications. Two versions of the tablet will supposedly be made — one for consumers and one for defense needs."

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127 comments

In Soviet Rusia (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198115)

In Soviet Rusia all your data belong to US!

In US (5, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41198171)

In US all you data still belong to US!

Re:In US (5, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41198231)

In Soviet Russia, the government protects your privacy.
(Head LITERALLY explodes!)

Re:In US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198365)

They're protecting the data from Google, that doesn't mean that they aren't themselves receiving that data and more. Not that I necessarily think that's happening, although it would be expected of any government that was going out of its way to do this.

Re:In US (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41199005)

They're protecting the data from Google, that doesn't mean that they aren't themselves receiving that data and more.

It couldn't possibly be more. Google knows when and where you pee.

Re:In US (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41200057)

And Google sell this information, too.

Re:In US (3, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41198423)

In the US, the government claims to protect your privacy as well.

Re:In US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198485)

In Putin Russia, Gogol is the new Google. Join the Dead Souls Network.

Re:In US (5, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41199003)

They're not protecting YOUR privacy. They're protecting the Russian government's privacy from Google. I don't see why anybody would be surprised by this at all. Instead, information channels keep the Russian government's central servers informed what their defense employees are doing with their phones.

The Russian consumer grade product probably also keeps the government servers (possibly separate from the military servers to keep the civilians out of the military's business) informed about what the consumers are doing with their phones.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198119)

First post? I must be really drunk

Consumer edition (2)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about 2 years ago | (#41198141)

one for consumers and one for defense needs

As in, a public one that sends all data to Yandex and a secret one that does not?

What about FSB? (5, Insightful)

coder111 (912060) | about 2 years ago | (#41198155)

Right, so this tablet does keep data away from google. What about russian FSB?

--Coder

Re:What about FSB? (4, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 2 years ago | (#41198205)

You're right! Using this means there might be another intelligence agency monitoring your activities besides just the CIA.

Re:What about FSB? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198309)

Maybe given the downward spiral since Bush(ido), its preferable to take one's chances with the FSB... question of who do you trust less/more. Go figure.

These capchas are spooky on slashdot - this one is "predicts". So maybe the above is a prophecy!

Re:What about FSB? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198431)

Unless Russia has no copyright laws whatsoever, their Android version is still free software and will have to be released, at least to the people buying the consumer version. So I assume one could do a simple diff and see what they have changed.

Re:What about FSB? (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#41198551)

That would be great, since it would mean those nice Russians did all the hard work of identifying the evil spying functions for us hackers to remove ;-)

Re:What about FSB? (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about 2 years ago | (#41199519)

They have to release changes to the kernel but Android isn't GPL it's actually released under the Apache license which does not require source release.

Just replacing google address with Kremlin address (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200143)

Unless Russia has no copyright laws whatsoever, their Android version is still free software and will have to be released, at least to the people buying the consumer version. So I assume one could do a simple diff and see what they have changed.

And the diff will show that in the consumer version all that changed is that google URLs and IP addresses were replaced with Kremlin URLs and IP addresses. There is no objection to monitoring consumers, just who receives the data.

Re:What about FSB? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198511)

GOST encryption standards, often required to supply equipment to certain markets inside Russia, are very favorable to FSB in their design. This isn't even particularly sneakily implemented; for anyone with slightest amount of understanding on cryptography it's obvious that this is the case. I am not entirely certain what has been more important to Russian officials setting up these requirements, though: ability to decrypt actions of officials and certain organizations of national interest, or protectionism of the market by demanding own set of standards which are not obviously superior from the end user perspective, but cause considerable amount of extra work for foreign suppliers to compete on this market.

Re:What about FSB? (1)

gdy (708914) | about 2 years ago | (#41199099)

This isn't even particularly sneakily implemented; for anyone with slightest amount of understanding on cryptography it's obvious that this is the case.

Prooflink?

Re:What about FSB? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41199333)

Probably none [wikipedia.org] . In fact, it seems to be doing pretty good for a standard from 1989. There are criticisms, but this - "There is not much published cryptanalysis of GOST, but a cursory glance says that it seems secure (Schneier, 1996; Vitaly V. Shorin, Vadim V. Jelezniakov and Ernst M. Gabidulin, 2001)" - pretty much contradicts his "it's obvious that this is the case".

Nevertheless, he's modded up - no need for prooflinks when it's about government conspiracies, right?

Re:What about FSB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200175)

Russians demand solutions where keys are also in the hans of FSB. I don't spread rumors on my clients.

Re:What about FSB? (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#41198615)

This is why every country should have a similar program, at least for their officials. I don't understand why it is so hard to get? Russia and China does that. When will European countries get it too?

Re:What about FSB? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#41198781)

What about russian FSB?

The question is, who do you fear more, Google or FSB?

I'll have to give that some thought.

Re:What about FSB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198881)

str_replace('google.com|cia.org','kgb.su',$android_source);

Re:What about FSB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41199059)

As an individual living in US, you should worry about the US government getting their greasy hands on your privacy data via google more than a foreign government.
For most people, they would probably not going to step foot in Russia (or those other nations).

Can we get the same? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198159)

Can we have an EU version, that keeps data within Europe, not like the EU version that hands all our banking data over to the USA when asked, one that respects OUR privacy?

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Re:Can we get the same? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198377)

BS, the only banking records that were handed over were to accounts controlled by American citizens. And those were only demanded because Switzerland was known to be aiding and abetting US citizens evading US taxes. Switzerland could have opted to hold to their principles and end up on the list that the US keeps of countries that American banks can't do business with.

Re:Can we get the same? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198401)

Switzerland is not the EU. He's talking about the other EU countries among which The Netherlands which got most of the banking data handed over to the US.

So yeah, your BS is BS.

Re:Can we get the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198409)

Found it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist_Finance_Tracking_Program

Your talking about something recent of the last few months, what the parent means is something that happend a couple of years ago.

No *ONGOING* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198807)

Almost:
"what the parent means is something that happend a couple of years ago"

No, it's ONGOING, they hand over all our bank transactions to the USA on the excuse that we can't analyze them ourselves and it continues and is ongoing.

Incredible, all our bank transactions handed over to a foreign power and the people in charge can't see the problem, or more likely they can, but USA has something on them as leverage.

Re:No *ONGOING* (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41198973)

but USA has something on them as leverage.

What dirt could possibly be so bad and so extensive that it literally forces the hand of every country in the E.U. with regards to SWIFT? Even the E.U. countries that initially were in opposition backed down (such as Germany.)

If we accept your theory as true, that the U.S. has some major dirt on all the E.U. governments, then maybe you shouldn't be trying to make the U.S. out to be the bad guy. Sins so bad that the E.U. could be blackmailed into giving up the banking data of 500 million people doesn't sound like little white lies to me. It sounds like very serious evil-type shit

Re:No *ONGOING* (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about 2 years ago | (#41199797)

To be fair one needs not to have anything nefarious in order to have another by the balls.

Anyone married?

Re:No *ONGOING* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41199017)

The CIA has more intelligence processing power than the entire EU combined. That's why the EU and individual European governments allow Europol to gather and send this data. The part of the parent comment that doesn't make sense is that Android has nothing to do with this at all.

Re:Can we get the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198579)

oh yeah` you really viewed and paid attention during the propaganda promo videos...

Re:Can we get the same? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41199673)

BS, the only banking records that were handed over were to accounts controlled by American citizens.

Without warrants. No person or company, either foreign or domestic, has any business handing records over to US law enforcement without a warrant.

And those were only demanded because Switzerland was known to be aiding and abetting US citizens evading US taxes.

So, get a warrant.

Re:Can we get the same? (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41198619)

The answer is NO. Next question

Re:Can we get the same? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#41198991)

How about a corporate version that only passes data to servers owned and controlled by your in-house IT staff? I'd have thought that there would be a market for this, but it's one that device makers, not Google, would have an incentive to fill.

Re:Can we get the same? (1)

ukemike (956477) | about 2 years ago | (#41199561)

It's open source. Go for it.

Re:Can we get the same? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41199869)

"I head Android is open-source, why don't you write it yourself?" / Generic asshole reply.

As bad as Google may be (3, Insightful)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | about 2 years ago | (#41198183)

I think I'd rather have my data go to Google rather than the Kremlin...

Re:As bad as Google may be (5, Insightful)

notknown86 (1190215) | about 2 years ago | (#41198197)

It shouldn't be an either/or... Why isn't "neither" an option?

Re:As bad as Google may be (3, Informative)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | about 2 years ago | (#41198203)

Because your vendors are Google or the Kremlin. I didn't create the choices.

So do it (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41198237)

Android is an open source OS built on the Linux Kernel. You're welcome to take it and build the notknown86OS suitable for installing on whatever device you like which meets this "neither" need, and sharing it with the wider world as long as you adhere to the license requirements. If you do it well, fame will be yours. If you sell it well, fortune too. Unless there is no demand for this feature.

Re:So do it (4, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41198361)

If you do it well, fame will be yours. If you sell it well, fortune too. Unless there is no demand for this feature.

Oh no, there is a demand for this feature. There are even a few Android ROMs that have this feature. Personally, I had such a ROM installed for about a week, before I gave up on it and reverted to a different ROM. As it turns out, the Googe Maps/Navigation auto-complete feature is much easier and more convenient to use if your phone doesn't have short-term amnesia between uses. And yes, I admit it. I am trading privacy for convenience and ease of use. Thought, I don't mind it.

If you just browse the xda forums a little bit, you'll see that there are many people that care about privacy, and are willing to pay the price of privacy in terms of ease of use and convenience, much more than I do. So do not take my example as proof that there is no demand, there is actually a demand. It's just that there is already plenty of existing grassroots competition for that kind of feature in the rooted custom-ROM Android ecosystem.

Great! (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41198387)

Go at it. More power to you. Write back and let us know how it goes.

Re:So do it (2)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41198477)

You mean: contributing to CyanogenMod? [cyanogenmod.com]

Re:So do it (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41198701)

No, it seems like that guy was seeking an other way. Best of luck to him.

Re:As bad as Google may be (4, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41198249)

As an American, I already use Baidu for search. I might as well buy myself a tablet that phones home to he Kremlin. For the things that I'm doing on the internet, I'm much more afraid of the American mafia than the Chinese triads, or the Russian mob. Of course, your circumstances will vary. If I was in China, I would probably be avoiding Baidu. And if I was in Russia, I'd probably avoid any churches where singing was going on.

Re:As bad as Google may be (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#41198405)

And if I was in Russia, I'd probably avoid any churches where singing was going on.

nice reference..

Re:As bad as Google may be (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#41198745)

And if I was in Russia, I'd probably avoid any churches where singing was going on.

nice reference..

That's a Riot.

Baidu = Bing = Microsoft (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198419)

Except that Baidu is Bing for their English language search result. Microsoft paid them to use Bing, probably just to give Ballmer a 'market share boost' in something so he can keep his job, but maybe for something more sinister.

So you may think you're avoiding the US corporate Mafia, but actually you're not.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/04/microsoft-bing-baidu-china-english_n_889829.html

Re:As bad as Google may be (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41198847)

Exactly what changes are required to keep the information from Google/? My understanding is that unless you install the Google apps (email, maps, contacts, etc), no data goes to Google anyway. Certainly CyanogenMod works like this.

Re:As bad as Google may be (1)

jo42 (227475) | about 2 years ago | (#41198879)

I'd rather have my data go to Google

So you'd rather have your data end up in the hands of the Gooberment of the United States of Dumbtardia?

The proper choice is 3) None of the above.

Re:As bad as Google may be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41199789)

From google it goes directly to the NSA and the Mossad. Criminal organisations that have engaged in terrorism and are now using all your private information for anti terrorism pusposes? WTF?

Re:As bad as Google may be (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 2 years ago | (#41200589)

The official UN definition of terrorism exempts governments from inclusion. I know that's not reasonable, but those in power write the laws. So neither the NSA nor the Mossad can be terrorists. For criminal...that probably depends on where you live. In the US I don't think you're a criminal unless you've been convicted by a US court, but I've never seen an official definition, so I'm not sure. Anyway, that would exempt both the NSA and the Mossad.

Re:As bad as Google may be (1)

blackt0wer (2714221) | about 2 years ago | (#41200257)

So that Google can sell your data to the Kremlin?

China did the same (3, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41198195)

Why is this even news? Even China did the same. It would be irresponsible not to.

For Russia, it's the North Pole. And for China, it was the Tibet. If you let an American company suddenly do your mapping for you, or tell you where you're standing with their satellites, then you might as well kiss whatever new territory you just claimed an hour ago good bye.

It's a steep slippery slope. One day, the North pole is gone. The next day, Moscow is part of Alaska. And your average citizen doesn't have a clue because he's too busy drinking vodka and industrial alcohol and looking at his phone for gps directions.

Re:China did the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198223)

And the US has Puerto Rico, Panama Canal, Guam and other bases.

Re:China did the same (1)

tokul (682258) | about 2 years ago | (#41198345)

On the next day we have world war three and pepsi costs three kopecks after the war.

Re:China did the same (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 2 years ago | (#41198727)

If you let an American company suddenly do your mapping for you, or tell you where you're standing with their satellites, then you might as well kiss whatever new territory you just claimed an hour ago good bye.

You jest, but 1200^2 KM of my nation's land is listed in the CIA Factbook as belonging to an aggressive enemy who has not set foot there in 45 years. Therefore I cannot use FOSS maps such as Marble, but rather must use Google Earth. I regularly visit and have friends in that area, and my photo-organising software (Digikam) lists those photos (GPS-tagged) as being in a hostile nation.

Re:China did the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198893)

You know, people might care and actually try to help change this if you went to the trouble of naming the damned place!

Re:China did the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41199045)

I think his username -- and strong opinions in past posts -- gives it away.

Hint: Middle East.

Re:China did the same (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 2 years ago | (#41199245)

I deliberately don't mention that as I don't want to change the subject of "the US's idea of what a country is differs from what that country decides that it is" to "your country is great/evil". Mentioning where I live (if it is not obvious already) would introduce a juicy red herring.

By the way, the United States even disagrees which city is our national capital! We call city X our national capital and our seat of government is there, but US interests call city Y our capital and their embassy is in city Y.

Re:China did the same (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41200733)

Mentioning where I live (if it is not obvious already) would introduce a juicy red herring.

Yes, referencing the year [wikipedia.org] and the "aggressive" nature of the enemy kind of gave it away.

Re:China did the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41199235)

One day, the North pole is gone.

That would be every year from now on sometime in May... but hopefully it returns by December.

Robot Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198209)

Apparently they do not welcome our new robot overlords.

Source code ? (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 2 years ago | (#41198227)

Will they honour their GPL obligations and make the source code available ?

Re:Source code ? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198277)

Will they honour their GPL obligations and make the source code available ?

Android is licensed with Apache 2.0 mostly, so they'd only be obliged to release the source code for any kernel modifications they might have made.

Great - now we have a choice (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41198275)

Great - now we have a choice. We can trust Google and the US government or we can trust the Russian government .. Oh wait!

FROSfT PIST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198283)

Hack-proof? (2)

tommituura (1346233) | about 2 years ago | (#41198371)

"There is nothing like this operating system on the market. It is hack-proof," Mikhailov claimed. "There are people who are clamouring for this."

(emphasis mine)

I can see this going over juuuust fine.

Or maybe he thinks that all the good hackers are russian and won't touch it because they "love their country" or something?

"It is hack-proof" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198385)

Someone setting themselves up for epic fail.

Water and shock proof tablet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198413)

If it's open enough to stick Cyanogenmod on, I'll take two.

Eh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198415)

I have to agree with other posters as to why this is a news item.

Firstly, for defence and state purposes, why would you rely on a private company, whether it is foreign or not, for essential services? You would want that in-house to ensure it's stability. Secondly, for the consumer version, why would Russia not want to cultivate a home-grown ICT sector by using local companies services rather than a foreign company?

More governments should be like this (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#41198457)

Too many governments (and busineses) trust US hosting like Amazon or US software companies and don't realise they're basically handing all their data over to the US government. Data should not be stored in the US.

Reading comprehension (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198515)

TFA:

Similar fears have already driven other expensive military projects [...] One such invention is GLONASS -- a rival of the Global Position System (GPS) [...] But the latest defense project [the Android fork] is not entirely an echo of the Cold War.

TFS:

a new Android device presented to a top Russian government official boasts encryption and works with software and a global positioning system made in Russia, the AFP reports.

There's nothing in the article that suggests this Russian Android version is even using GLONASS. And even if it is, there would be nothing fishy about that. Many new devices support GLONASS (and/or Beidou and/or Galileo) in addition to GPS. The more satellites and systems supported, the better and faster the geolocation.

Me wanty (1)

DaDaDaaaaa (2720359) | about 2 years ago | (#41198523)

Is it accessible to ordinary individuals? Would it be possible to use something like Cyanogen or some apps to completely prevent any data from your Android phone being sent to evil Google?

Re:Me wanty (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 2 years ago | (#41199065)

Yes, but it would break a lot of the functionality of your phone. No more email updates (if you use gmail at least), Maps wouldn't remember any of your previous locations. Etc etc. Google has a ton of stuff baked into android that completely revolves around your google account. None of that information is stored locally. Google at least lets you managed what data they store on you. Its not google I would be worrying about. Its the fed that is building huge databases on american citizens.....

Re:Me wanty (1)

mattr (78516) | about 2 years ago | (#41199169)

Not that I will hold my breath but it would be nice if someone legislated a requirement that an open API be provided that lets the user specify a repository for this data on a server of his or her choice. Would make mining me less valuable for google but the alternative would be for different countries to all pester google for their own versions. It would be interesting if there was a way to secure the OS for the user like this so-called milspec unit (I suppose it uses a repository in the Russian military whereas the civilian one puts backdoors in everything) so as not to make using my phone a daily experience of sending information to twenty companies. Of course not so worried that I have rooted my phone yet..

Always critics..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198575)

Now you information goes to russia goverment......
Now FSB can view your data...........

Then shut up and keep selling you soul to Google and others!

How ever you want to crush on this..... reality points out this is smart from Russia and good for their goverment agencies and their data security.
Next to that it will also add to the fact that citizen data is also more protected (unlike the smart devices in most companies and agencies you trust)

Maybe there is a side effect that when you get it as consumer you give them access to your life....... can never be more then you are currently giving to any other company and not cry about it..... please..... shut up if you live in oblivion!

Tipical russian (1)

Ateocinico (32734) | about 2 years ago | (#41198647)

From the beginning of their history, the Russian approach to foreign technology has always been adapting, but isolate at the same time. They choose their own alphabet and their own railroad gauge. They even had ternary computers. The idea is that foreigners and nationals only can share information and goods through the state.

Re:Tipical russian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198767)

You could as well say that they are isolationist not to have adopted Latin, or English as their language. Russian power structure has been and keeps being one that very much favors those with power and oppresses those without access to it while keeping them in order by projecting evils to foreigners, but factoids you list have very little to do with this, and do have very little to do isolationism.

Re:Tipical russian (2)

Max_W (812974) | about 2 years ago | (#41199009)

I would say that Russian alphabet resembles ancient Greek one. At least, I was surprised that, knowing Russian, I could read names on ancient Greek stones.

Vladimir Lenin wanted to switch to Latin alphabet, but did not have enough time for this. He died in 1924, 4 years after the end of the Civil War.

English language and Latin alphabet are OK, are fine. But I enjoy ti read and watch movies in Russian too. It is not possible to compare. These are two different worlds.

I prefer to read a book in a language it was written on; the same about movies.

Usually, if someone starts to write in Russian language by Latin letters on a forum, it ends in a ban. No one does it anymore.

Re:Tipical russian (3, Informative)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#41198815)

They did not choose their own alphabet, their choice of church did it for them centuries ago, and it is actually a lot closer to the greek alphabet than the latin one ( which was, if I remember right, an offshoot of a western greek variant.) So if you want a reason for all that, blame Greece! :)

The fact is though, that at least objectively, the cyrillic alphabet is better than the latin one, having much less ambiguity and more letters for things such as 'sh 'kh' 'ch' etc. The only failing it has is that it uses letters similair to latin letters to mean completely different things, which leads to an inevitable amount of brain bonk when you are trying to learn it.

Re:Tipical russian (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#41199185)

Russia tried to be open, but was historically seen as a place to collect slaves, sell expensive products and mine for cheap.
Russia tried to trade but as Peter the Great found out it was not much fun trying to send out trade missions and been told NO.
400 years plus of this and a few invasions has made Russia wise and very creative.
Sell and buy on own terms. Study the tech so you are never dependant on outsiders as they can up the price or stop exporting at any time.
The CIA and NSA have also had a long history of messing with Russian tech, so they are more careful on networks and with chips.
In the 1950's they finally understood signals intelligence and sealed their networks the best they could with correct one time pad use and strict rules.
Android is useful, but Russia would know what any CALEA friendly telco exports are.

one for russia to spy and one to spy with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198755)

one for russia to spy and one to spy with/on you.

ONLY reason they do two.

Android != Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198869)

You need to install the Google services separately, so the google-free android is not a big achievement.

Good idea for them (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41198885)

Good idea for the Russians, they should avoid syncing their state secrets to the cloud. They better be sure that there are no back doors left in, but they probably use Windows too. I don't think even the CIA would use basic Android for their spies.

Re:Good idea for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41198919)

> They better be sure that there are no back doors left in, but they probably use Windows too.

Not where it matters, probably. Russian Ministry of Defense has a custom Linux distro too.

Re:Good idea for them (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41199089)

> They better be sure that there are no back doors left in, but they probably use Windows too.

Not where it matters, probably. Russian Ministry of Defense has a custom Linux distro too.

And they share back source code?

Re:Good idea for them (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 2 years ago | (#41200661)

Do they distribute the code? If not, then they aren't required to share it back.

For that matter, would you want it? It probably essentially duplicates the changes that the NSA made, which most people find too inconvenient to apply, and many of those who do apply, do it incorrectly. I, personally, want to be able to read the contents of my disk even when it's not bootable, so I don't have the NSA changes installed. (Well, not any that haven't made it into the main kernel.) But if I were more interested in security from outside observation, I'd have made a bunch of different choices. (As it is I only take basic measures, like avoiding the installation of flash and not enabling Java in web pages.)

Re:Good idea for them (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41199085)

Good idea for the Russians, they should avoid syncing their state secrets to the cloud. They better be sure that there are no back doors left in, but they probably use Windows too. I don't think even the CIA would use basic Android for their spies.

I think spies would use standard phones because weird phone would blow their cover. They would just know not to discuss their spying activities on email, text message or voice. The professional spies would know how to send encrypted data on public channels back to their agency or handlers.

If I were running the CIA, I'd send all my intel back to HQ using Pastebin or something like that, and my best sources would look to all the world like notorious hackers who somehow evade being apprehended...

Or I'd encode it in the misppelings in flamebait AC posts on Slashdot. You think it's just an anonymous dickhead talking about some irrelevant obsession, but it gives the names and addresses of Israeli spies in Tehran to my analysts who are monitoring what they are doing.

Privacy - that's what we expect in Russia (and US) (4, Informative)

gavron (1300111) | about 2 years ago | (#41199025)

The first thing we learn in security training is that if you don't want your data found,
make sure there's no such data to begin with. If you read nothing else, read the paragraph
following this one, and the last one.

People's personal devices are being used to spy on them on a regular basis. In the US it
was recently rules your smartphone CAN and WILL be used against you without a warrant.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/federal-court-rules-cops-can-warantlessly-track-suspects-via-cellphone/ [arstechnica.com]

In Russia it was recently rules you don't need a smartphone to go to jail for "free expression"
only in a church.
http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-17/world/world_europe_russia-pussy-riot-trial_1_band-members-nadezhda-tolokonnikova-russian-court [cnn.com]

Now that we've covered the facts, more facts are that your smartphone DOES send information
about you SOMEWHERE. Be it google (standard US Android device, data sending enabled) or
Mother Russia (Russian version of Android device) if you have GPS enabled and outbound data
sending enabled... someone out there has access to the data, whether or not they keep it,
catalog it, database[ify] it, store it, or analyze it [later].

If you want your information to be kept private... KEEP IT PRIVATE. That means don't use a device that
sends that information ANYWHERE ELSE. Even if you think it "shouldn't" send it somewhere it MAY.
MAY is a percentage between 0 and 100% that if you can't afford it should be ALWAYS zero.

GPS -there are plenty of devices that will plot your location, show you a route to a destination, and have
no capability for transmission.

PHONE -there are plenty of phones that WILL GIVE YOUR LOCATION TO CELL COMPANIES WHICH
IN THE USE WILL GIVE THEM to law enforcement without a warrant.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/08/warrantless-gps-phone-tracking/ [wired.com]
Feel free to have your phone either OFF or covered in a Faraday cage (aluminum foil works) until you must use it.

DATA -there is no way you can use data [which requires bidirectional packet flow] without giving away your
location unless you are using a local WiFi hotspot.

In short... in summary... put your smartphone into airplane-mode. Turn on wifi-only (android phones will allow
you to enable WiFi in airplane-mode but will leave other radios disabled). Use local hotspots. Don't install
applications that require "access to the physical device such as speaker or microphone or location-based information"... ...and welcome to the 21st Century.

E

Re:Privacy - that's what we expect in Russia (and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200225)

I don't believe the the summary is correct. Using WIFI still would allow someone to track your location, unless you don't have any personally identifiable information or browsing habits on said device. I guess if you were connected, but didn't browse any sites (but what is the point of that?)

Something like TOR for your phone would be necessary (although again, if you have identifiable browsing habits, they still might be able to hand you a trojan designed to leak your information).

You might be paranoid, but not paranoid enough.

Good for them (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41199083)

They don't trust Google, so they made their own stuff.

I dont see a problem with it at all.

"Hidden" features (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200029)

"but none of its hidden features that send users' private data to Google"

Yes. The "hidden" features in an OPEN SOURCE OS. Having fun scaremongering?

New distro (3, Interesting)

Clsid (564627) | about 2 years ago | (#41200207)

It would be nice to have a group create a version of Android that doesn't report back anywhere. To be honest, one of the reasons I don't like to use Google products is that you always have this feeling that you don't even know when you are being tracked, but if it has the Google logo somewhere they will try real hard to do it. I get it, they are for-profit corporation and that's the way to get their revenue but I rather pay or use open source software whenever I can. It isn't funny how many people are willing to let go of their privacy because of a free product/service (think rebates).

Private from Google! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200757)

I want one! No more sending my data to Google! Instead, it goes to Russian hackers...hey, wait...

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