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This question is a follow up to: What information does stock Android send to Google by default, and how do I opt-out? and Disable Location History in Android

I did a factory reset and flashed Cyanogen Mod 11 on my phone. I love the ROM and am using it without any Google Applications. I didn't even add a Google Account. For apps, I am using a third party app to download apk and installing them manually on my Android smartphone. My questions:

  1. In Location for Cyanogen Mod, it provides three options - only GPS, only Mobile Tower / Wifi, both GPS and Mobile/Wifi. I know that in stock Android ROM, Google location history sends data about my whereabouts to Google. Will this happen in Cyanogen Mod too? Since I did not add any google account or google app, I'm guessing this is unlikely. I want your advice.

  2. If I use Wi-Fi, does Google know about my Wi-fi, its adapter id, blah blah..?

  3. Does Google know about any other info if I use this ROM?

As you may have noticed, I am quite paranoid. But I do not want to give away anything to Google.

PS: Before flashing CM, I used google account and play on same phone on previous ROM. And the device was added to Google Play.

  • Good question. I'll look into CM now to see. Would using an alternative platform be an option, Android is quite tied into Google (for obvious reasons) and if you wanted to avoid them maybe a Windows device or an iPhone or similar would suit whenever you are upgrading your phone? It's a slightly sad state that if you use one of these devices you are selling your privacy. Google make money from advertising and building databases of information about each user to target this advertising. So do MS, Apple and MANY others. "If a service doesn't charge you, you are the product" – RossC Oct 3 '14 at 14:08
  • Unfortuantely, I cannot switch my android phone now. So, I am stuck with Android. Also, I can access the Android APK's on the internet without using Google play, thus having the advantage of large base of apps. – Castor Oct 3 '14 at 15:15
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CyanogenMod is not focussing on user privacy, FOSS or google-less ROMs. See the FSFE Wiki for some info on proprietary parts of CyanogenMod. You may want to take a look on OmniROM as they put a focus on privacy and security - without being to paranoid.

You mentioned that you're using your phone without any Google Applications. I assume that there are no Google Applications installed on your phone - if you install CM without their Installer (flashing zip from recovery), you can skip installing the so called GAPPS. If you install CM with the official installer, you won nothing: Google already re-associated your device by comparing the unique wi-fi mac address, it doesn't matter (from perspective of privacy) if you re-add your account on-device or not.

I'll answer your questions above, assuming that you did not have a single google application installed:

  1. Locating with Wi-Fi/Mobile network on Android KitKat is done using Google Play Services. If it's not installed you can tick or untick this locating feature - it won't do anything.
  2. When using Wi-Fi, the first thing Android does after connecting is to contact google by doing a basic http request to http://google.com/generate_204. This is to measure if the wi-fi is using a captive portal. This request does not contain sensitive information, but you may want disable it anyway. Beside that, no tracking or scanning comes with the source of Android which is used by CyanogenMod.
  3. Yes they do. As mentioned on the FSFE Wiki, CM uses Google Analytics for tracking their usage on every device by default. This behaviour is opt-out, so you can disable it. If you do not trust this option (the underlying code is not completely open sourced), it's possible to remove Google Analytics using freecyngn.
  • 1. I flashed the CM 11 mod using recovery (no gapps). But before that, I accesssed Google play with my Google Account on stock rom. So, Google has linked my phone in Google play. 2. So, if I connect to wifi now, my ip will be logged by Google everytime I connect to wifi. Correct? Will flashing freecyngn avoid this? 3. Other than flashing freecyngn, is there anything I can do to stay completely anonymous to Google? – Castor Oct 3 '14 at 16:23
  • 1. Yes your unique device ids like IMEI/MEID/ESN and MAC-addresses are stored on googles servers, which will google allow to link them down to you. However, usually they will not be able to retrieve those data. - 2. Your IP might be logged, but there is no id provided with this request, so googles servers will only see "there is an android phone on IP X.X.X.X", which is not really worth saving it :) - 3. If you go with freecyngn and without gapps and with no additional apps (or only FOSS ones), there is no google "tracking" (i don't count 2. as tracking) on your phone – larma Oct 3 '14 at 16:59

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