For questions related to enforcing you privacy on Android devices

learn more… | top users | synonyms

67
votes
5answers
40k views

Why do so many applications require permission to read the phone state and identity?

Why do so many applications require permission to read the phone state and identity?. Specifically: Phone calls read phone state and identity For example Quickpedia is a Wikipedia portal, but ...
39
votes
6answers
10k views

Support for Multiple Users on same device

Is there such a thing as a "current user" on Android and a way to switch it? I'm interested in getting a Motorola Xoom and would like to share it with my wife when at home. For my Windows laptop we ...
35
votes
14answers
8k views

Are there any tools to sandbox a malware application even more than the granted permissions on Android?

Suppose I want to run some program which requests too many permissions. For example, record from the microphone or read IMEI of my phone. However, there are no practical explanation why recording from ...
25
votes
2answers
20k views

What information does stock Android send to Google by default, and how do I opt-out?

I'm about to buy my first Android phone. My understanding is that, in order to download apps and get updates from Google Play, I need to be permanently signed into a Google account that's linked to my ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Audit app permissions easily in one place?

Is there anyway to list all the applications installed on your phone and the permissions they require all on one page, or export the list so it can easily be audited?
21
votes
1answer
10k views

Why does the new Chrome update want the permission to use my camera and audio recording?

Seriously, it specifically states that it can use the camera and audio recording any time it wants, whether or not I wish it to. Why is Chrome on Android requesting those permissions? Should I be ...
21
votes
2answers
4k views

What Android sync'd data is encrypted?

With the release of the firesheep plug-in for firefox it has become trivial for website browsing on open Wi-Fi networks to be hijacked by 3rd party listeners. Android offers the convenient auto-sync ...
19
votes
4answers
29k views

New Facebook app activates GPS when launched — how to disable?

This started happening with the latest Facebook app update. I don't want to disable my GPS outright -- I like that it comes up automatically when I call Google Maps. (Which usually is in a "where the ...
18
votes
4answers
979 views

I have sold my phone on eBay. What should I do before I send it off?

I have an Android phone which I just sold on eBay. What measures should I take before posting it off to its new home? Please answer thoroughly!
18
votes
3answers
43k views

What does the voice privacy setting do?

In perusing the settings on my EVO today, I noticed that there is an option under call settings named "Voice Privacy". The description beneath the checkbox merely states "Enable enhanced privacy ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

When selling your phone, what steps should be taken to make sure that all personal data has been removed?

I am getting rid of my Samsung Galaxy S4 and want to know what steps I should take to make sure that private information has been deleted from the phone. I have removed the SD card and cleared all of ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I set up OpenVPN on CyanogenMod 7?

I want to route all my network traffic through my home's ISP connection when I'm out in Internet cafes so I can't be eavesdropped/firesheeped. I have an HTC G2 with CyanogenMod 7, which has OpenVPN ...
15
votes
3answers
424 views

Temporarily protect email/sms when giving device to others?

Say my cousin wants to play with my phone/tablet for a while. Let's pretend I'm really nice and pleased to let him play with it as long as he wants, but deep inside I'm a little worry about him ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How practical it is to use an Android phone, bypassing Google completely?

One of the first things that I noticed on my Nexus One as I turned it on the first time, was GMail, Talk, Voice, Maps, Google Calendar and many other Google based services. I know that even on a ...
12
votes
2answers
542 views

How do I prep my rooted and moded phone for resale?

I have a rooted MyTouch 3G (HTC Magic) that I want to sell to help defray the cost of my new phone. I have been running CyanogenMod on the phone. My problem lies in the fact that I don't really want ...
10
votes
2answers
542 views

Is there a list that explains the risks involved with each granted application permission type?

Usually an installed android app will request permissions such as Phone calls read phone state and identity or System tools prevent phone from sleeping But the actual consequences from a ...
10
votes
1answer
237 views

What are the privacy implications of using Talk-to-Text?

Given that the Android implementation of Talk-To-Text sends your voice to Google's servers, parses your speech into text, then sends the text string back to the handset, what are the privacy ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

Can I block specific apps from using GPS?

I like to leave GPS enabled so that it's ready to go when I open Maps or certain other location based apps. However, one app that I don't want to access GPS is Facebook. There is, as far as I can ...
10
votes
1answer
471 views

Google maps wants a login now? Is there a way around this?

I've managed to get away with running my Galaxy S without every hooking it up to a Gmail account, but sometime in the last couple of weeks (I think following an OS update from Sprint) Maps started ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Can the RECEIVE_SMS permission be used to intercept SMS messages?

I've noticed quite a few apps requesting the RECEIVE_SMS permission. Two things are clear to me here: RECEIVE_SMS enables an app to "snap" incoming SMS READ_SMS just applies to SMS already stored ...
9
votes
4answers
764 views

What's the most complete way to erase all the data from my phone so it cannot be recovered?

I just got my replacement Droid and will be sending my current Droid back to Motorola. I'm sure they are going to refurbish it and resell it. I've backed up everything and I'm going to be keeping my ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Where to modify the pseudonym used to rate Android apps?

I am currently rating android applications that I downloaded with the username firstname.lastname where firstname and lastname are mine. However, I would like to put a pseudonym on it because my real ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How is a Nexus device “provisioned” when you buy it from Google?

I noticed during checkout for the Nexus 4 that you are given the option to have it provisioned: When purchasing a Nexus device from Google Play, you'll notice a 'Link this device to my Google ...
8
votes
3answers
245 views

Is there a service that rates app security/permissions?

Is there a service/company/app that vets Android apps and reports on their "trustworthiness"? I recently moved from Blackberry to a Galaxy S2 which does not have an LED indicator light. I searched ...
8
votes
1answer
880 views

Google play store does not show all persmissions at app install

So recently, I was searching for a news app that needs few permissions as possible. I found an app called Flipboard. Google play said I need to allow the following: Identity Photos/Media/Files ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

How to sync contacts and calendar with Linux system, without using Gmail?

How can I sync my contacts and calendar with a Linux system? I'd prefer to sync with my desktop, but setting up a server on the internet would also be possible. I want to avoid Google mail for ...
7
votes
2answers
961 views

Security / Privacy concerns regarding custom android ROM

What are the security and privacy concerns surrounding using a custom android ROM like that of cyanogen?
7
votes
2answers
748 views

Is there a contact book that allows partial access for apps?

In my phone book I have both personal contacts and work related contacts, like clients, contractors etc. Applications such was 'whatsapp' are great and easy, but I do not necessarily want to add all ...
6
votes
2answers
15k views

Why do I need a Gmail account to use Android?

I am a new user of Android phone. I used to own an iPhone. I don't remember needing an Apple account besides using it to download applications from app store. Now I need a Gmail account to do even ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

is it possible to disable Google remote kill switch?

our company is considering using the Android platform for future developments. Some folks raised concerns over Google ability to remotely delete applications on the device. they are arguing that if ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

How to use GPS without using Google Location Services

Because I do not want to consent to the Google Location Services privacy agreement I have this switched off. By doing so I know some location functionality like cell-based and wifi-based location will ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there an Android calendar with limited security permissions?

I've just bought an entry-level Samsung Europa, running version 2.2. I'm technically-minded but new to this OS. I'd like to find a calendar that runs in limited security permissions, so that my ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do App Locker apps need so many permissions? Am i safe?

I've been trying to password protect an app, and it seems that the permissions vary from app to app for App Lockers. Why do so many of them require full phone access? Is there any danger if i use a ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Show SMS content only after unlock? (Handcent)

Is there a way to make Handcent show an SMS only after the screen is unlocked? Right now it shows the whole message in some kind of preview even when the screen is locked. Browsed the options a few ...
5
votes
2answers
101 views

Is there a way to wipe a device based on a certain password? A like a “Wipe-me” password?

Is there a way (an app perhaps) that will wipe a phone if a certain password is entered at the lock screen? For example "letmein" unlocks the phone, but if you enter "wipeme" it will start the factory ...
5
votes
2answers
473 views

Recent Apps shows app contents even though when its locked

I am trying to figure out how to hide an app from being seen when you hit the recent apps button. I use ZDBox's app lock to hide my apps and files when needed but noticed that when I hit the recent ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Can apps know where you are even without GPS?

I've noticed that Google Maps, for instance, can guess where you are using phone towers or something even when GPS is turned off. Does this apply to 3rd party apps? Can any app figure out where you ...
4
votes
2answers
331 views

Questions About Android Privacy

The permissions warning in the Android Market is very vague. As well, I can't see the app permissions in a collective area of all the apps I have previously installed. So, I have no clue whether an ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

QR scanner that doesn't want to access my contact list

(I am new to Android and to this site, so please bear with me if my question is extremely stupid and if I got the tags all wrong. Feel free to improve, though.) I want an app to scan the occasional ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the application Xprivacy give fake private data to applications?

I was wondering how the Xprivacy app worked exactly. Does it do something with native Android code? With Java? Does it put itself between the data and any application that requests them, or only if ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

What information does Chrome/Android send to Google to discover my “WiFi based” location?

Their commercial geolocation API doc says it needs a list of every WiFi access point around, with, for each of them: MAC address, ESSID signal strength, a few others. Common devices probably ...
4
votes
4answers
19k views

How to block all phone calls, but only allow SMS and networking?

It's kinda disturbing when people keep calling me during work or meetings, but to me it's okay if I receive short messages or Whatsapp message because I can reply them few minutes later in a short ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Does FriendCaster have problems with the privacy settings of my friends?

I am fed up with the official Facebook application and want to switch. FriendCaster seems to be one of the very good choices. However I saw in reviews and other websites that FriendCaster will not ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Read phone state and identity

I've looked at many (not all) of the dozens of links here. Is there a list that explains the risks involved with each granted application permission type? Most of these are not worth the time to ...
4
votes
1answer
309 views

What lurks behind these Gmail/GTalk permissions?

I just stumbled upon some permissions which sound clear at first sight (noticed them already quite a while ago, just decided to dig deeper right now). Thinking about possible implications, I'd really ...
3
votes
4answers
919 views

How can I save and protect sexy pictures sent by my girlfriend?

I'm traveling and my GF wants to send me some racy pictures. Of course I will accept that offer, but I need to save them on my phone in a safe way. My phone uses Activesync, so it's possible for my ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

how can I randomize my MAC address every time my WiFi is turned on?

Given the increased prevalence of systems which track people's movements by their Mac addresses I'd like to obscure mine. I have a rooted galaxy note 2 with busybox installed. I can change my MAC ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there a way to block permissions for other applications on Jelly Bean?

I use LBE Privacy Guard with great pleasure to grant and withdraw permissions to access my contacts, the internet, etc. for each individual application installed in Ice-Cream Sandwich on my Galaxy ...
3
votes
2answers
449 views

Is there any way to stop Google removing apps from the phone?

Back before Android had gone mainstream, there was an incident where Google removed an app using a feature called Remote Application Removal. This potentially allows Google to start removing ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Encrypting SMS and calls

Is it possible to encrypt calls and SMS messages between two Android phones (or even from android to iPhone)? This firm delivered a beta on Android Market before: http://www.whispersys.com/