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Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the discovery-will-be-powered-by-bing dept.

Google 175

Jason Koebler writes: According to plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Google, personal information about you and your browsing, email, and app-using habits that is regularly sent between apps on you Android phone is harming your battery life. As odd as it sounds, this minor yet demonstrable harm is what will allow their lawsuit to go forward. A federal judge ruled that the claim "requires a heavily and inherently fact-bound inquiry." That means there's a good chance we're about to get a look into the ins and outs of Google's advertising backbone: what information is shared with whom, and when.

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ads (4, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 months ago | (#47513953)

Ads are also draining my battery...

Re:ads (0, Troll)

Selur (2745445) | about 3 months ago | (#47514145)

.. and not just the batteries of the electronic devices I use. ;)

Re:ads (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 months ago | (#47514247)

MUCH more importantly, though, ads are draining your BANDWIDTH. It's important, because it's also a simple demonstrable harm. If you pay $30 per month for your internet bandwidth, and the ads use up half of it (conservative estimate), then ads are harming you at the rate of $15 per month. Because Google purposely don't allow you to block the ads in android (*), that is a clear, monetary, demonstrable, harm.

(*) Google should be forced to put a big red button on their settings that will block all ads coming into the android device, and all in-app advertising traffic, if the user presses it. It should be force to do so or else be held as an accomplice on bandwidth theft. (**)

(**) Yes, I know, I'm dreaming. But I'd support a class action suit that would aim to accomplish this.

Re:ads (3, Insightful)

Smallpond (221300) | about 3 months ago | (#47514311)

Because Google should not be in business to make money. They should just give you free stuff.

Re:ads (0)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 months ago | (#47514367)

Because Google should not be in business to make money through harming people. They should just give you free stuff without harming me.

There. FTFY.

Re:ads (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47515057)

Ads aren't harming you, you trade bandwidth and eyeball time to receive free stuff, and unlike cable tv most apps are either ad supported or paid, precious few require you to pay in both ways.

With cellular carriers billing by the bit (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47515363)

But with cellular carriers billing by the bit, users in Google's home country "pay in both ways", namely bandwidth overages and eyeball time.

Re:ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515543)

Is Walmart harming you by making you pay for twinkies?

Re:ads (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514391)

well, no. That "disable all advertising" could also disable all of google's apps, if google wishes not to give away stuff for free, for example. The device is usable, just none of the google apps, like gmail, etc. would work. And yes, that pretty much cripples the device, but at least the option would be there...and perhaps there would be alternative apps (even for purchase kind) that would lack that data feedback that current phones/apps have.

How come I can turn on and use my computer without having any adware running on it, and I can't do that with a phone?

Take responsibility for your decisions (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 months ago | (#47514623)

"How come I can turn on and use my computer without having any adware running on it, and I can't do that with a phone?"

Because you made a choice for which you refuse to take responsibility. If you want Android, but don't want Google Apps, you simply get a phone that is configured as such. Stop whining that you bought a product and it is doing what it is designed to do. If you don't like Apple's Walled Garden, don't buy Apple. If you don't like Google apps, buy a phone that doesn't bundle them and then don't install them. You are making a choice, and then crying like a little girl that you made the wrong choice (for you and a small handful of others, that is) and want Googe to eat the cost of your ignorance.

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47515371)

If you want Android, but don't want Google Apps, you simply get a phone that is configured as such.

Which such phone, other than the Fire Phone by Amazon, is sold in the United States?

Stop whining that you bought a product and it is doing what it is designed to do.

We're whining that all products sold near us are designed to do something that we find undesirable.

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 months ago | (#47515385)

There are many. I'm not your research flunky.

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515451)

Hate to break it to ya, but with the fire phone you'll be swapping google for amazon information collecting, and apple in the case of an iphone, or M$ if you're one of those 2 people with a "windows" phone...

If you were careful, you MIGHT be able to get away from everything using cyanogenmod and opting to NOT install ANY google services but then you'd have a mostly useless overpowered dumb phone...

Anything truly important I just don't use a phone to do as it generally takes something with a MUCH better input method than even swypeing which is only marginally less tedious than a virt kb... BTW the something else would be a notebook or desktop.

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47516029)

If you were careful, you MIGHT be able to get away from everything using cyanogenmod and opting to NOT install ANY google services but then you'd have a mostly useless overpowered dumb phone...

Maybe you could get one of these Firefox phones. [mozilla.org]

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515503)

Buy any nexus phone, and flash your own ROM without google apps.

Dozens to choose from. Google gives ASOP away (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47515619)

WIkipedia has a list of a dozen open-source phones with operating systems such as OpenMoko and Firefox OS, which includes parts of Android:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Nokia makes Android phones without the Google apps, and Google gives away the base operating system that allows them to do so.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/... [pcmag.com]

Cyanogenmod lets you run Android with no Google apps, some Google apps, or all Google apps - whatever you want.
http://www.cyanogenmod.org/ [cyanogenmod.org]

Ubuntu Touch may appeal to you:
http://www.ubuntu.com/phone [ubuntu.com]

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 2 months ago | (#47516115)

"We're whining that all products sold near us are designed to do something that we find undesirable."

Whining about a lack of choice is perfectly reasonable, and in the perfect world, a large enough population of people should be able to solve the issue with market forces and unrestricted market entry.

Dumb phones still exist, so the choice is yours for not settling for them, or the many other competing phone platforms in the market. We as a society have chosen walled gardens and interconnected services, many because they wanted it that way, many because the heavy marketing convinced us to do it despite reservations. Don't blame people for buying what they wanted.

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (1)

phorm (591458) | about 2 months ago | (#47515829)

Or just turn off all location services. On every phone I've got, it's usually a question during the initial installation process.

Re:Take responsibility for your decisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515831)

"How come I can turn on and use my computer without having any adware running on it, and I can't do that with a phone?"

Because you made a choice for which you refuse to take responsibility. If you want Android, but don't want Google Apps, you simply get a phone that is configured as such. Stop whining that you bought a product and it is doing what it is designed to do. If you don't like Apple's Walled Garden, don't buy Apple. If you don't like Google apps, buy a phone that doesn't bundle them and then don't install them. You are making a choice, and then crying like a little girl that you made the wrong choice (for you and a small handful of others, that is) and want Googe to eat the cost of your ignorance.

The problem is that consumers have no way of knowing how much bandwidth is needed for various apps before one purchases them. If they knew that the free version of an app uses 512K per hour of use for ads, while the paid version costs $5, then the consumer could make an informed decision.

Re:ads (1)

GerbilKor (2926575) | about 2 months ago | (#47515659)

That would be a fair solution, but the benefit would be mostly spiritual. Even if Google wanted to include such a feature I suspect it would be utilized so little that it would be hard to justify maintaining it. I like to use the paid ad-free version of any apps I use a lot. But once you hit that "disable all ads" button, plan on a spending an afternoon buying the upgrade versions of your main apps. Then even more time searching for alternatives for the ones that don't have an ad-free version at all. Then learning to use the new apps you had to switch to. After that expect an unending process of upgrading apps and (probably more annoyingly) dealing with all the apps that are just broken by blocking adds. A more practical option could be, as much as I hate to say it, a subscription service for your Google Play account. Pay an arbitrary monthly amount to disable adds in ALL apps purchased from your account. Apps you use get a cut of the subscription you pay.

Re:ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514529)

WTF? Does *everybody* make idiotic false-dichotomy arguments?

Re:ads (1)

zidium (2550286) | about 2 months ago | (#47514813)

No, just "morans" [sic] ;-)

Re:ads (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 3 months ago | (#47514375)

The situation is even worse when you remember that the overwhelming majority of the advertisements try to install crappyware on your computer, or offer dubious products.

Re: ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514471)

It's called the power button. If you don't agree to your device using bandwidth for ads, turn it off and it will stop.

Re:ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514659)

Your ARE compensated... you have no right to free apps on your phone or web services like GMail. By using them you are being compensated for the battery drain, bandwidth usage, any any other "uncompensated harm."

Re:ads (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 2 months ago | (#47514907)

I have a 500 mb plan with unlimited voice and text for $40 with tmobile.

My first month I hit that cap halfway through but now that I see how quick that comes, I just leave mobile data off. I have wifi pretty much everywhere I go. I save the mobile data for directions or an occasional search.

Re:ads (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47514957)

So...you're voluntarily paying for something you don't actually need and don't use it on purpose?

Re:ads (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47515379)

"Voluntary" only in the sense that one would have to buy and carry two handsets otherwise. U.S. cellular carriers tend to refuse to sell plans with no data at all to users of devices whose IMEI matches that of a smartphone.

Re:ads (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47515749)

That's exactly what I bought in Europe, and I experienced no problems in doing so. Why would they refuse it?

Don't Want a Data Plan? Too Bad. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47515937)

Because cellular carriers in the U.S. have determined that the majority of cellular customers in the U.S. are willing to take such abuse rather than moving to Europe. See the Slashdot story "AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad." [slashdot.org]

Re:ads (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47515139)

Better to just turn off background mobile data, that way only apps you're actually interacting with will be able to access the mobile data network and you won't have to toggle something every time you want to actually use your plan.

Re: ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515519)

Why do you have such an expensive limited plan?
Try Republic Wireless and it is $10/month for unlimited talk & text & wifi data. $25 if you want unlimited mobile data too. You can even switch between plans if your needs change during the month. Oh that is without a contract too, the only catch is you need to buy the phone (but your savings will probably cover that cost in a couple months).
Use this referral link to sign up and you will get a $20 account credit: http://rwshar.es/24dw

Re:ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515499)

Google purposely don't allow you to block the ads in android

Checkmate. [adblockplus.org]

I run it, and it works. The main caveat is that a cellular connection will not go through the proxy, and you have to configure each wi-fi connection to use the proxy separately.

Re:ads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514793)

The best "test" to see if you are a "targeted person of interest" by the NSA is to walk around for 20 minutes with your phone in standby, no apps running, and in your pocket. As they say on the OFFICIAL ANDROID FORUMS, "If the phone is getting hot just sitting in your pocket then you have an issue with an app that is keeping your data radio open sending and/or receiving something continuously." This is most likely your conversations and other activity for the day. If you turn your phone OFF and it gets hot, then you know 100% sure you're being specifically monitored, meaning they're tracking 1) your GPS location, 2) what you say, 3) what you hear around you and 4) even how much you walk / drive / etc.

And one more thing: Ever had your battery die COMPLETELY and then when you charge it, the phone suddenly says "20% full"? That's the buffer The NSA or whomever programmed your phone to shut off and play dead at 20% battery life so that 1) you let down any defenses, and 2) they have *plenty* of spare battery left to covertly monitor your conversations, location, etc. Pretty genius, if you ask me.

Re:ads (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 months ago | (#47514991)

Ever had your battery die COMPLETELY and then when you charge it, the phone suddenly says "20% full"? That's the buffer The NSA or whomever programmed your phone to shut off and play dead at 20% battery life so that 1) you let down any defenses, and 2) they have *plenty* of spare battery left to covertly monitor your conversations, location, etc. Pretty genius, if you ask me.

Don't suppose you also sell tinfoil hats that could protect me from the NSA's mind-reading rays?

Re:ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515431)

Don't suppose he needs to. He's not wrong.

Re:ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515855)

orly

Frist Post (2)

fisted (2295862) | about 3 months ago | (#47513955)

Your Ad Here!

Re:Frist Post (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514339)

Recently fired Google engineer looking for work - preferably in non online Ad services.

Privacy is dead (4, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#47513969)

So in other words your privacy is worthless as judge decided that loss of privacy is not 'demonstrable harm'.

Re:Privacy is dead (5, Insightful)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 3 months ago | (#47514051)

I'm sorry but anyone who is idiot enough to have an Android phone and DOESN'T know that of course since you sign into your Goggle account with it the same damn data sharing is going to happen just like wherever you use their services on any device is, well, an idiot. The question is, though, what harm comes from that - and that's up to each user to decide when they choose to use it or not. Since users sign up for and consent to the service - I see why it takes an actual technicality like this to make it actionable (even if it does highlight the often absurdity of our legal system).

Basically, I know it's all cool to get all up in arms about this stuff and the principle, etc., but the truth is - if you are going to use a single commercial device to access your entire data "life", and if you use Google services in particular, you know what you are getting at this point. It's those ads that pay for Goggle to give so many of it's services away for free. It may be wrong, it may be right, it really doesn't matter because it's the very definition of "it is what it is". It's the price you pay for using a "smart" phone because you won't find one that doesn't have privacy implications. As a user you decide - is the convenience/cache of owning one worth it? If the answer is no, go get yourself a "feature" phone burner and replace it once a month, or however often your paranoia leads you to do so - and don't access any data services on it.

My guess is, 99% of the folks who are going to make comments about this and bemoan privacy have smartphones - they are not necessary, they are a convenience/luxury - one that I use, but if I really was so concerned I wouldn't have one, or use Goggle's services - much less an OS designed by them - or iOS and their Cloud shit, etc. It's a trade off of modern life, if you want the cool toys, you can't play anonymous secret super agent spy. (Which leads to the "what are you doing that makes you think anyone gives a fuck" question, but that is a separate issue entirely.)

Slashnerds know the price. I wonder about average (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47514139)

Technology nerds, especially those who frequent sites like Slashdot where discussions of privacy are frequent and nary a day passes without mention of Snowden, know the trade-off of Google services*. I wonder how well non-technical people understand it. Google Now kind if shoves it in your face, making it very clear that Google knows when you're at work, when you're at home, what TV shows you like, etc. I wonder what percent of average people who don't use Google Now really understand what the cost of Google services is. It would be interesting to see a survey.

* I make no value judgement about the privacy cost. Some customers are okay with the privacy cost of using these excellent free services, other people choose not to. Personally, I choose to make that trade only with Google. One company has my profile, and in exchange I get many services.

Re:Slashnerds know the price. I wonder about avera (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 3 months ago | (#47514205)

Personally, I choose to make that trade only with Google. One company has my profile, and in exchange I get many services.

You can't really be that naive are you? When Google has your data, Google's business partners have it too (part or parcel), the law can have it through subpoenas, the NSA... just about everybody.

Besides, I suspect Google uses the data in ways I don't want it to be used. So even if it was the sole guardian of it, I don't want to give it to them. Not willingly anyway, and as little as possible when I don't have the choice - and people have less and less choice as days go by in the matter.

The data is valuable to Google, they don't hand ou (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47514639)

> When Google has your data, Google's business partners have it too (part or parcel),

All evidence I've seen, and common sense, indicates that the data is very valuable to Google and they don't want anyone else to have it. They'll sell ads to other companies, which Google displays based on the data, but they don't sell the data. That would be giving the other company the goose that lays the golden eggs. Google prefers to sell the eggs, over and over again. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please cite it.

Of course the NSA illegally acquires data from most all email providers, ISPs, etc. Even the services that are explicitly based in privacy get NSLs, so to avoid that I could avoid using the internet at all. I'm going to use the internet, so the NSA will be able to snoop until that problem is handled using the three boxes - soap box, ballot box, and if absolutely necessary ammo box.

Re:The data is valuable to Google, they don't hand (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47516089)

Of course the NSA illegally acquires data from most all email providers, ISPs, etc. Even the services that are explicitly based in privacy get NSLs, so to avoid that I could avoid using the internet at all. I'm going to use the internet, so the NSA will be able to snoop until that problem is handled using the three boxes - soap box, ballot box, and if absolutely necessary ammo box.

There are four boxes: soap, ballot, jury and ammo.

Re:Privacy is dead (2, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#47514189)

I'm sorry but anyone who is idiot enough to have an Android phone and DOESN'T know that of course since you sign into your Goggle account with it the same damn data sharing is going to happen just like wherever you use their services on any device is, well, an idiot.

So you were walking around in the evening and got mugged? Why do you even try to complain, it is your fault.

The question is, though, what harm comes from that - and that's up to each user to decide when they choose to use it or not. Since users sign up for and consent to the service - I see why it takes an actual technicality like this to make it actionable (even if it does highlight the often absurdity of our legal system).

Ah yes, "I consent that company does whatever they damn please to me" click-through "agreements". It is now even possible to 'agree' to binding arbitration (and waive your right to class action lawsuit), which shows how much the whole idea is broken.

Basically, I know it's all cool to get all up in arms about this stuff and the principle, etc., but the truth is - if you are going to use a single commercial device to access your entire data "life", and if you use Google services in particular, you know what you are getting at this point. It's those ads that pay for Goggle to give so many of it's services away for free. It may be wrong, it may be right, it really doesn't matter because it's the very definition of "it is what it is".

Yes. I know what *is*, I don't like it and I want to change it. This lawsuit is one attempt to make this change.

It's the price you pay for using a "smart" phone because you won't find one that doesn't have privacy implications. As a user you decide - is the convenience/cache of owning one worth it? If the answer is no, go get yourself a "feature" phone burner and replace it once a month, or however often your paranoia leads you to do so - and don't access any data services on it.

No, the price I paid was in dollars. I don't see any reason to include my privacy, my dog or any random thing that phone manufacturer or Google would want of me.

My guess is, 99% of the folks who are going to make comments about this and bemoan privacy have smartphones - they are not necessary, they are a convenience/luxury - one that I use, but if I really was so concerned I wouldn't have one, or use Goggle's services - much less an OS designed by them - or iOS and their Cloud shit, etc.

The same exact reasoning to justify TSA. "Plane is a convenience, go by train if you don't like it'. TSA now invading train stations? Well, train is a convenience too, go by car. Plate-reading cameras everywhere recording everywhere you go? Oh just stay in home until you learn to love big brother. Most of 'implications' are not technical requirements - they are there mostly because people like you just bend over and take it in the ass without even daring to complain.

It's a trade off of modern life, if you want the cool toys, you can't play anonymous secret super agent spy. (Which leads to the "what are you doing that makes you think anyone gives a fuck" question, but that is a separate issue entirely.)

Obvious answer is that I don't know if in 5 years I will be doing something important enough. In this case I would rather not have my whole life reported in great detail, ready to mine for possible blackmail opportunities or smear campaign.

Re:Privacy is dead (3, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 2 months ago | (#47514657)

The same exact reasoning to justify TSA

They're incomparable. TSA is mandated by governments, you have no choice in the matter. Using a particular brand of smartphone is not. You are free to use a smartphone that doesn't use Google services and indeed are free to buy a Nexus 5 and then say "no" to the billion and one "trade data for feature?" prompts that appear when switched on the first time. No government goon is going to step in and insist that you send all your data to Google.

In fact, if you would prefer a smartphone that has a different data/features tradeoff then - conveniently! - Google provides a rather good open source operating system for free that you can use to build one. If others feel the same way you do you can even sell them without paying Google a dime.

Re:Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515135)

You are such a colossal idiot that you're not worth more of my time than it takes to type this.

One word: PATENTS

You can't just go out and design your own phone without getting sued into oblivion. Even if you could, your local providers probably won't let you activate the phone on their network.

It's like if all car manufacturers decided they didn't want to put seat belts or headlights in their cars. That's when the government steps in and forces them to.

That's what governments are for. They exist, in part, for consumer protection.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47515477)

In theory you can get around the patents and carrier restrictions by paying a low, low fee of a few hundred billion dollars to hostile-takeover the major patent holders and a carrier.

Re:Privacy is dead (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 months ago | (#47514669)

"So you were walking around in the evening and got mugged? Why do you even try to complain, it is your fault."

No, you were walking around in the evening and someone asked politely: "Hey, if you'd like I'll trade you these services for your personl information", and you said yes. You could have said no, but you didn't. You said yes. Just grow the fsck up and stop crying that you shouldn't have to be responsible for the consequences of your decisions.

Re:Privacy is dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515841)

People do have a strange concept of blame. They think that if something is someone's fault, it can't also be someone else's fault. Or that if two people share in guilt, each one of them has a little less guilt since the other has some guilt. None of this is necessary. Something can be 100% your fault and 100% someone else's fault.

As in your example...walking around alone at night on the bad side of town. Yeah, you got mugged. And it is 100% your own dumb fault, since you did something that basically invites mugging. That doesn't let the mugger off the hook. Not even a little bit. The mugger is still 100% guilty of the crimes associated with mugging, even though you asked for it (and you are entirely to blame for asking for it).

Re:Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514243)

Total bollox!

Google is breaking the EU data protection laws. That's the end of the matter as far as Europe Android usage is concerned. They are criminals and could be shut down in the EU. Give it 7 or 8 years of court investigations and you'll see them massively fined and given a slapped wrist.

I like my yahoo phone too (2)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 3 months ago | (#47514255)

Its great, has no apps, just ads, and a crap messanger toy.

Re:Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514261)

I'm sorry but anyone who is idiot enough to have an Android phone and DOESN'T know that of course since you sign into your Goggle account with it the same damn data sharing is going to happen just like wherever you use their services on any device is, well, an idiot. The question is, though, what harm comes from that - and that's up to each user to decide when they choose to use it or not. Since users sign up for and consent to the service - I see why it takes an actual technicality like this to make it actionable (even if it does highlight the often absurdity of our legal system).

Basically, I know it's all cool to get all up in arms about this stuff and the principle, etc., but the truth is - if you are going to use a single commercial device to access your entire data "life", and if you use Google services in particular, you know what you are getting at this point. It's those ads that pay for Goggle to give so many of it's services away for free. It may be wrong, it may be right, it really doesn't matter because it's the very definition of "it is what it is". It's the price you pay for using a "smart" phone because you won't find one that doesn't have privacy implications. As a user you decide - is the convenience/cache of owning one worth it? If the answer is no, go get yourself a "feature" phone burner and replace it once a month, or however often your paranoia leads you to do so - and don't access any data services on it.

My guess is, 99% of the folks who are going to make comments about this and bemoan privacy have smartphones - they are not necessary, they are a convenience/luxury - one that I use, but if I really was so concerned I wouldn't have one, or use Goggle's services - much less an OS designed by them - or iOS and their Cloud shit, etc. It's a trade off of modern life, if you want the cool toys, you can't play anonymous secret super agent spy. (Which leads to the "what are you doing that makes you think anyone gives a fuck" question, but that is a separate issue entirely.)

Thanks for reenforcing just how much we are all idiots for using technology.

Now, you let me know how I have a fucking choice when I don't want to be tracked and recorded on video and audio in every public place I set foot in. Or be tracked with that same technology (you act like it takes GPS in a smartphone to do this, that's merely a convenient way of doing it). Every website. Every public office space. And soon, every square inch of suburbia (drones) will be covered with your "free" services, paid for by your ever-increasing taxes, not ads. Elected positions will be replaced by selected Czars, so don't give me this shit about rights and voting. And there is no EULA to disagree with to avoid it.

The smartphone is the tip of the iceberg, Google is merely a rook on the chessboard, and you're the idiot in thinking a burner phone is going to fix any of that.

Re: Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515271)

Someone has something against socialism.

Re:Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514263)

You act like mobile connectivity is some kind of "toy" or "luxury" for everyone. Newsflash: it isn't. See, we have this thing called an economy, and that has other people in it, and those people are sometimes (here's a grown-up word) "competition". So if you're dealing with people who can instantly communicate and you can't, well that can be a big economic disadvantage.

The problem a lot of us are facing is that for all intents and purposes there is nothing in the market right now that is not a huge privacy invader, and of course we also know that it doesn't have to be that way--but too many uneducated people buy into this whole "free" stuff that it causes a critical mass of stupid. That's the privacy problem. We have the illusion of choice (to have/not have a mobile device, and which type if we have one) but in reality our choices don't amount to much because everything invades your privacy unnecessarily.

Re:Privacy is dead (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514313)

> Basically, I know it's all cool to get all up in arms about this stuff and the principle, etc.

It's not cool. It's simply my fucking duty towards society. And yours too, btw.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#47514381)

I'd guess that a given a clear choice, a majority here would choose a free ad supported, information sharing app over a paid, no-info sharing app. If you have a crap load of free apps on your phone, you are taking advantage of the value of that information you are providing.

Not knowing exactly what information about me sits in the Google repository, and what portion of it can be traced directly back to me is the troubling part. I don't care if all that info is turned into 'generic' or 'anonymous' info and used for market development.

Adver-teasing is fun. (4, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47514477)

I haven't a mobile phone of any kind for almost a decade but google and facebook know (from my bank) that I have spent some serious dollars on dentistry recently, their computers are thoroughly convinced I should buy a $350 set of plastic clip on teeth. I don't need false teeth but I post something random about the plastic teeth to web sites about once a week, like I'm doing here. I've been doing this for about six weeks, almost every page I visit is now plastered with the same ad (I clicked on it once just to tease them).

There's some people selling porcelain teeth that started following me last week, I'm currently experimenting with different phrases to see if I can ignite a bidding war between the two vendors. Would love to know how much they have spent on me so far....

Your post is spot on, it's exceedingly difficult to opt out of the civilization you found yourself born into. Ridicule is the best defense against extremists, so my advice is try to have some fun with the absurdities of "targeted advertising", and the crusaders who are battling it..

Disclaimer: For many years I have had the slashdot "disable advertising" option available, I don't use it because I actually want slashdot to make a few pennies from my eyeballs. It's also humourous seeing ads for religious scams posted to a bunch of atheist nerds ranting against religion. If we keep burning gods money like that maybe (s)he won't be able to buy as many congressmen in the future.

$350 for Valplast? I want to see that ad. (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47515685)

I wish I got that ad you keep getting. It sounds like it might be worth a look. If by "plastic" you mean Valplast, that's a very good value.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 months ago | (#47515833)

I don't have a smart phone... when it comes to choosing a new cell phone I want good battery life and the ability to make and receive calls. My current phone takes very little time to charge and will last up to 72 hours depending how much it's used. {not usually 72 hours because I rarely go that long with out a phone call}

I was recently shopping for a car and the salesman was telling me about how you can connect your smart phone with bluetooth and all the amazing features. Finally he notices that I was just not interested and asks me what I would like in a vehicle. What was I looking for? transportation, decent fuel economy, warranty, gap, a care plan, enough room for the family.

Trimmings are nice, but when they start to take away from the intended purpose, it's a problem.

Private data not on the phone (1)

phorm (591458) | about 2 months ago | (#47515875)

Also, how much of said "private data" is actually harvested the phone itself, other than perhaps location data?
Gmail: That goes to Goog's servers before your phone
Talk: Same thing
Contacts: Can be kept on just the phone without sync (for that matter, sync can be toggled on/off for most things)
Browsing history: Do they get anything if you use firefox instead of chrome, and/or don't sync bookmarks?
Maps/Latitude: Location stuff can be turned off

Most of the ways they can get information *from* the phone seem inherent in the functionality being used: i.e. use of gmail, maps, etc

It would be interesting to learn what data is being "sync'ed" beyond that needed to get the functionality out of the given apps.

Re:Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514053)

Privacy has no value defined in statute. Courts aren't about opinion.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514283)

Privacy has no value defined in statute. Courts aren't about opinion.

Oh really?

It is the opinion of the court that the person standing in front of me is a celebrity with a full concert schedule. Therefore I cannot possibly levy equal time against this person for their crimes they committed, as I will John Smith who will stand in front of me an hour from now. Please put this person in jail until they need to leave to get ready to hit the stage.

It sure as fuck isn't laws, rules, or rights that are being used here. If we followed those, the result would be drastically different.

Re:Privacy is dead (2, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about 3 months ago | (#47514059)

Better yet, from TFS...

That means there's a good chance we're about to get a look into the ins and outs of Google's advertising backbone: what information is shared with whom, and when.

Google: Judge, we are filing this motion to seal any and all documents for trade secret and proprietary information reasons. To release them would do irreparable harm to our business.

Judge: Granted

Re:Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514597)

Not sure why you got modded troll but you're closer to correct than the assumption anybody outside the plaintiffs and judge are going to get any info out of this. More likely, imho, is google settles. If it's between a few million and showing everybody their innermost secrets, they'll just pay to make this go away and keep their secrets.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47514081)

Inasmuch as the plaintiffs had the opportunity to discontinue the use of Google's products when the policy changed, that's correct. If Pizza Hut changes its name to Poop On Bread Hut and starts selling poop on bread, and you still shop there, that's on you.

However the judge agrees with the plaintiffs that they bought Android device which tied them into the changed privacy policy, and that Google was aware of the impending change at the time it was marketing devices. This would be like, I don't know, prepaying for a year of Pizza Hut and then they decide to become Poop on Bread Hut and you're stuck with their craploaves. If they knew at the time you prepaid that they would be making this change, then they have misled you.

Re:Privacy is dead (2)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#47514127)

... which has nothing to do at all with 'it is harming battery life' argument

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47514521)

This thread is about whether privacy infringement constitutes harm in this context, though.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 3 months ago | (#47514181)

If Pizza Hut changes its name to Poop On Bread Hut and starts selling poop on bread, and you still shop there, that's on you.

Eewwww,

I hate Poop on Bread.... Hut.

Pizza is dead, too.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 months ago | (#47514357)

Your privacy is indeed worthless if you aren't doing anything to protect it yourself - if you are expecting everyone else to protect your privacy for you when you don't take even basic steps to protect it yourself then I have no sympathy.

At some point you need to take some responsibility for your own privacy.

Re: Privacy is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514419)

Because people want everything for free. If people were willing to pau for websites and services they use frequently, then we wouldn't have this problem. But no, people EXPECT everything online to be free, so ads it is.

Re:Privacy is dead (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 months ago | (#47514641)

Loss of privacy isn't "demonstratable harm" because you agreed to said "loss of privacy." For future reference, if you lie face down and let some guy have his way with you, that isn't rape either. It doesn't mean consent laws are "worthless". It just means you don't get to give consent and then have the protections provided by them.

You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47513993)

...that is regularly sent between apps on you Android phone... ...you... ...YOU!

privacy is in chaos (1)

markygie (3762983) | about 3 months ago | (#47514005)

I don't care about the battery, I care more on the personal info that google crawls.

Re:privacy is in chaos (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 3 months ago | (#47514045)

I don't care about the battery, I care more on the personal info that google crawls.

Well, I care about the battery. If I'm going to trade my privacy for cool stuff, it had better dang well be cool!

Re: privacy is in chaos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514525)

Yeah, but courts run on the legal fiction of "standing". Seems by claiming Google used a few cents of their electricity, they now have it.

Odd (2)

countach (534280) | about 3 months ago | (#47514025)

It seems odd in so far as this precedent would seem to set up every application you ever buy for court audit to make sure it is absolutely as efficient as it possibly can be. If not, it could be using your electricity or draining your battery.

"reasonable" is a term often used in law (3, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47514117)

One of the more important words used in law is "reasonable". The phrases "reasonable man" and "reasonable care" are used particularly often. I'd bet the concept applies in about half of all civil suits. If a court rules that a product should be reasonably efficient (and reasonably durable, reasonably effective, etc) that it no way means that it has to be perfectly optimized.

Consider if a product, perhaps a car, tended to fall apart after just a few months of use. You'd expect lawsuits, and the plaintiffs would have a valid claim because a car should be reasonably durable. That doesn't mean all cars need to be built like a Sherman tank. This is well established law, applied in many contexts. In fact, the only area I can think of where we've gotten away from a reasonableness standard is medical malpractice. By statute, that's supposed to be a similar standard, but juries have moved toward expecting medical professionals to be perfect, not just act reasonably.

Re:"reasonable" is a term often used in law (2)

ADRA (37398) | about 2 months ago | (#47515935)

I've got a Nexus 5 and the amount of data wasted on systems updates is pretty small, and that's with syncing my entire google catelog of services. How can someone sue for a service that can be TURNED OFF, hence saving your entire reason for sueing.

The shitty thing about this suit is that Google actually makes very good use of elecricity and has spent years getting it to the point where battery usage for regular background activities like described are well performing. Its an insult to all good nerds to be insulted by a bunch of ignorant people looking for their handount.

Not just battery drain (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47514089)

The lawsuit also rides on the fact that these people bought Android phones at a time when Google already knew (but was not telling anyone) that it would be changing its privacy policy. By being forced to replace their devices - which automatically had the new policy applied to them - the customers have been demonstrably harmed. In fact this appears in the paperwork before the battery drain issue.

Re:Not just battery drain (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47514399)

The lawsuit also rides on the fact that these people bought Android phones at a time when Google already knew (but was not telling anyone) that it would be changing its privacy policy. By being forced to replace their devices - which automatically had the new policy applied to them - the customers have been demonstrably harmed. In fact this appears in the paperwork before the battery drain issue.

Right, so Google will issue them a refund plus $5 for wasted electricity over the life of the phone and everyone will go on with their lives?

Re:Not just battery drain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514483)

Right, so Google will issue them a refund plus $5 for wasted electricity over the life of the phone and everyone will go on with their lives?

It sort of depends.

For phones made in the past 4 years, the ones with the new privacy policy people are complaining about, the phone doesn't attempt to use the data connection until other TCP packets are already queued.
On these devices any personal data sharing to Google doesn't happen until the user initiates some other network connection, meaning the wifi radio isn't being used for this purpose until the user starts using those radios for their own purposes, so arguing about energy loss would be less than a tiny fraction of a penny.

As far as the cellular radio goes, it can actually be argued that zero power was wasted by the data connection to Google, since the cell radio is already active 24/7 and sending data between it and the cell towers every 5-30 seconds to ask the phone network if there is an incoming call or any incoming IP packets.
Sadly this inefficiency is pretty much how the cellular protocols work normally and if you want to recieve incoming calls or text messages or know when a voicemail arrives the radio needs powered every so often to poll the network anyway.

One would think arguing for using up their monthly cellular data packet quota, or at least in addition to power use, would be beneficial. That's X less bytes that month the user can transfer without heavy fines, or alternately causes data accounting errors when the user calculates their quota against transfer and discovers they went over their quota due to this data being sent to Google and were already fined.

$0.25 per KB is my overage rate, and would personally hate to think what my hourly exchange email check-in would do to my bill if my data quota was exceeded!

Saying it's bad b/c it drains the battery is like: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514103)

Saying that shooting people is bad because you might sprain your trigger finger.

Re:Saying it's bad b/c it drains the battery is li (1)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | about 3 months ago | (#47514187)

no, i think its more like saying that shooting people is bad because you are getting blood in their clothes and hence they have to pay to get them cleaned..... its bad for the (i hope these terms will not become the center of discussion) "victim", not as your example posts it, that is bad for the "victimary"

Judge should accept privacy violation as damage (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#47514285)

This would be like suing a hacker who formatted your company web server and the judge refusing to accept the argument that the damage was harm to reputation and loss of business, and instead only accepting the claim of increased electric bill and wear/tear on the hard drives.

Nothing to see here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514389)

Just google you guys, not even a big deal. Stupid victim.

Similar argument for desktops (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47514421)

Windows users: set a system-wide proxy and watch the traffic to Microsoft on a regular basis. Windows update, CRL, other mysterious links, and of course their associated DNS queries. How much bandwidth does that suck up?

Re:Similar argument for desktops (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 3 months ago | (#47514485)

Windows users: set a system-wide proxy and watch the traffic to Microsoft on a regular basis. Windows update, CRL, other mysterious links, and of course their associated DNS queries. How much bandwidth does that suck up?

Window Update? How dare Microsoft regularly and automatically patch known security flaws in their OS and other software.

*shakes fist in Redmond's general direction*

Re:Similar argument for desktops (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47514569)

I'm bandwidth-constrained. I'd prefer Windows didn't suck up bytes when I didn't ask it to. Is that so hard?

Re:Similar argument for desktops (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about 2 months ago | (#47514847)

I'm bandwidth-constrained. I'd prefer Windows didn't suck up bytes when I didn't ask it to. Is that so hard?

It's pretty easy to turn it off.

Re:Similar argument for desktops (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47515199)

Especially in Windows 8 where you just assign the connection as a metered connection and most of the background stuff gets turned off without diving any further into the system. (Yes I know tech sites like to bag on Win8, and in many cases deservedly so, but there are genuine innovations that are useful contained in it)

Re:Similar argument for desktops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514505)

Windows users: set a system-wide proxy and watch the traffic to Microsoft on a regular basis. Windows update, CRL, other mysterious links, and of course their associated DNS queries. How much bandwidth does that suck up?

Good thing Windows is most often found hanging off unmetered internet connections. For now.

What? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#47514431)

So sending information over a network well using a battery to power the system will drain the battery, how can this be a law suit? Wouldn't this be the same as saying, "My phone turns on and works but the battery drains so I'm suing you!" I would make the group of the law suit demonstrate a battery that doesn't that doesn't drain and can still allow network communication, when they can do that they can proceed, other wise just stop.

yo0 Fail It. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47514467)

on baBy...don't already aware, *BSD

Interesting (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47514617)

I'm wondering how Google intends to provide the information. Ostensibly, any RF communication is going to be expensive in terms of power consumption but certainly if you turn off the radios you could get a power profile that represents the state of an Andorid device without all of the activity going on to Google's servers. It's tenuous but while this only affects Google I'm wondering if Apple and MSFT are watching this because you know damn well they're doing it with IOS and Windows Phone to some extent.

I saw this strategy in a legal dramedy once. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47514821)

A landlord snuck a camera into his tenant's shower and posted the pictures. It wasn't technically illegal to do that at the time, so they busted him on theft of electricity. (Unfortunately for the landlord, the judge herself just had incriminating photos of herself published.)

.

Parallel argument ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 2 months ago | (#47514931)

Defendants are griping about the battery in hopes of addressing privacy issues.

Google will focus on the battery. Google has lots of opportunities to improve battery life ranging from educating the customer on how to do that for themselves, to providing a beefier battery that offsets the increase abuse by ad data.

Or, Google may offer one free app (with attendant tattle tale stream) as compensation.

In any case, Google will focus on the battery and will avoid proprietary business practices as irrelevant.

Should this be a cautionary tale for the NSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515571)

I wonder if the same sort of 'harm' could get them entangled in a public law suit?

Advertising ROI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47515663)

Wasn't there an article a short while back describing how difficult it is to monetize gains made through advertisements? Besides the bandwidth and battery drain, what difference does it make to me if companies know which brand of toothpaste I "like" or "prefer"?

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