There Are Now 2.5 Billion Active #Android Devices — Keeping Tabs On People; #Privacy #App #Surveillance

This may sound like a great feat for a technology company, but on the flip side, the amount of personal data and activities Android devices (and apps than runs on it) are collecting on a day-to-day basis is disturbing.

We've gone very accustomed to mobile devices, like smartphones, that we tend to overlook the amount of privacy and personal information we blindly surrender to their manufacturers and partners — that is, as a “prerequisite” for use. It doesn't stop collecting personal information after the initial purchase, it keeps collecting activity data once activated. Device features like location (GPS) or software update are activated by default, and are being market as “essential” services – they are when you need them but not all the time. Some apps and services rely on location service to function or to provide suggestions (and tailor ads) on the fly based on your current vicinity. Example, step counters rely on tracking information to function. Other apps entice users to submit photos and video clips for tweaking and/or publishing. Some of these apps are owned and hosted by companies based in countries with spotty human rights record.

Unsuspecting users are too distracted by gimmicks without realizing that they unknowingly subject themselves for data mining and exploitation.

There's nothing wrong with location services, if it's only on when you need it. Fortunately, it can be easily turned off.

Android decides (including iOS and Windows Phone too) are known to periodically call home, that is contact Google HQ (or their respective companies). This is not an issue if only users know exactly what data is being sent when this happens. Unfortunately, the details of which is obscured in terms of service legal lingo. Mobile devices, and to some extent modern gadgets, has turned into Trojan Horses or surveillance devices (Truman Devices). Consumers are giving up so much privacy for novelties and a little bit of convenience. Governments and private companies are sensitive when it comes to security, but Big Tech undermines all of it with mobile devices.

If you are unfazed by the personal data Google collects from 2.5 billion users, then you need to wake up.

How did we got here? Legislation has been very slow to catch up with technological progress, and often times it's reactionary. These days, it takes a scandal to get lawmakers' attention and do their job… albeit, slowly.

So what can consumers do in the mean time? Turn off services you don't need, switch update check to manual, only install apps that are essential to your day-to-day tasks and that are coming from reputable sources. Only grant the necessary permission for each app for it to function. If an app is asking permission to access data that has nothing to do with its' service or function, remove it.

Just because a company like Google is mammoth, it doesn't make them immune to the abuse. They're run by people, and people sometimes make mistakes.

And lastly, take your privacy very seriously.

New York (The Verge) — There are now 2.5 billion active Android devices….

Ten years after its first launch, Android has set a new device record, with 2.5 billion devices connecting to the Google Play store each month, including both smartphones and tablets.

Today at the I/O developer conference, Google announced that there are currently 2.5 billion active Android devices. It’s a staggering number for Android, and a sign of just how successful Android’s modular approach has been in reaching new users and hardware partners.

Since the number is based on Google’s Play Store statistics, it doesn’t include non-Play Store forks like Amazon’s Fire OS or most of China’s Android devices. Google made the announcement as part of the launch of Android Q beta 3.

The number of active devices is growing quickly. Google publicly reached 2 billion active devices in 2017, announced at that year’s I/O conference. Russell Brandom/@verge

Source: verge, full story


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