Technology users are faced with a challenge: Allowing our tech devices to work without them invading our privacy.
Obviously choosing products carefully is a critical step. Unfortunately, the two main players in the smartphone space, Google and Apple, are well known for their questionable data collection and harvesting practices.
LineageOS and /e/OS are up-and-coming providers of privacy-friendly smartphone operating systems. Until they become more commonplace, I thought it would be worthwhile to create a compendium of internet hosts to which Android connects by default.
To do this, I let an Android device run for 5 hours and captured all packets trying to leave the device.
The Android device was configured never to share contact data, calendar data, task data, map data, location data, or any history of any kind. It also was configured to not transmit or receive email at all. The internet search function of the launcher was removed. Furthermore, Google Chrome and the Google's Android Assistant were both disabled, as were all the various "Google Play" apps (such as Google Play Books, Google Play Games, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music / YouTube, Google Play Newsstand) except for the Play store. Within the Google Play store, automatically checking for new app versions was disabled. Finally, a non-Google keyboard was installed and set as the default.
Even after doing all this, within just 5 hours of the phone sitting without being used, the Android device attempted to connect to all the following Google-owned hosts:
What is the purpose of each of these hosts, and why are so many connections still being attempted given that almost everything Google-related is supposed to be disabled on the device?
Note that I don't expect a single answerer to know the purpose of every host listed, but hopefully we can work together to use this QA to create a quality reference resource.