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Privacy Discussion Thread


Active Coder
So, I did the grave mistake of updating my Pixel 3a to the latest Android update(May 2020 update), and I didn't realise until today, that the COVID-19 system had been implemented. I only had to go into my Google account when configuring my privacy to discover that it had been implemented.

It says that for it to work, it needs the app created by my country's health-authority. Which, I will not be downloading. Plus, the system absolutely confuses me. If you get any symptoms, you then insert how you're feeling. Then when you and somebody else with the app, and the both of you have Bluetooth enabled, come into contact with each other while one of you are experiencing symptoms, then the other person gets alerted about it? But then how do you connect that data with Bluetooth? Not only that, does the app store data safely and delete it after a certain amount of time? I doubt it(Of course, this depends on the country that you're a citizen in).

I had recently been doing, I guess what you could say is kind of a clean-out of my Android system. Reset my advertising ID; deleted Spotify(So now I need a new music-service); and I did a couple of adjustments with my permissions. Earlier today though, I did actually begin looking into rooting my device, and replacing the device ROM with GrapheneOS. I've looked into it and it appears to be heavily focused on security and privacy. But funnily enough, on it's own website, it recommends sticking to the modified Chromium browser it ships with as Gecko has more vulnerabilities in it apparently. I find that statement on their site quite ironic as the OS is focused on privacy and security, which I actually value more over useless features(Like customisation, which the developer doesn't actually have plans to implement).

I would've went with LineageOS, but it unfortunately doesn't have support for the Pixel 3a. Although right now, I'm not going to flash GrapheneOS onto my device right now. I probably won't do so until the time comes to get a new phone. The reason I'm not doing it right now is because I fear of corrupting my device and rendering it useless. So in the meantime, I intend to only remove a few Google services, and then I'll see how that goes.

Has anyone else experimented with an alternative Android OS or intends to replace their OS with an alternative? Also, what are your opinions on the COVID-19 system being implemented by both Apple and Google? Do you fear it or do you find it as a nice feature that was a good thing to implement?


Active Coder

I ditched Spotify a couple of weeks ago out of concerns for it's odd permissions on Android(It wanted access to my location). I've been stuck using Newpipe for music but after finding out that a YouTuber had his video taken down when he was investigating such a serious and worrying topic over a "bullying and harassment" violation in YouTube's guidelines, I intend on getting rid of YouTube entirely.

Bandcamp seems like a good alternative, especially since none of the music on there is restricted by DRM(I'm pretty sure anyway, I might be wrong). Libre.fm also seems interesting, but something about it just doesn't appeal to me for some reason - I don't know what though.

If somebody could recommend me any alternatives to Spotify that respect your privacy, then that'd be great. Also, I'd like to know of your opinions on the services that I mentioned above(Bandcamp and Libre.fm).


Update: Nevermind, I just decided to download all of the music I want from Newpipe. You can skip this one, folks.
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Active Coder
A really good site that I found about a month or two ago is: https://digdeeper.neocities.org

It's run by a guy who seems to be quite knowledgeable on the subject of privacy and does some really good investigating into corporations like Mozilla(Who blatantly lie).

Do check the site out when you have the time. Not only does he investigate many different services that claim to "respect" your privacy, but he does also offer some good software-suggestions if you're on GNU/Linux.


Active Coder
I find the website very confusing, but I will see what kind of information can be found there.
Well as I said, the guy who runs it goes deep into the ToS and privacy-policy documents for many different service-providers, going over what data they collect and don't collect. Aside from that, he also does lengthy reports on companies and certain parts of technology - Mozilla was one of them, which I suggest giving a read if you're starting to no longer trust Mozilla anymore. I've given a quick-read over it but I'll be reading it in-depth later.

You can also contribute to it too, if you'd like to.


Active Coder
I haven't found an English contribution to it yet, but I think the statement behind it is great:
I tried translating it once.
The European Court of Justice does not consider the level of data protection in the US to be equivalent to that in the European Union. That is why the court declared a decision by the EU Commission on the transfer of personal data of Europeans to the USA, known as Privacy Shield, illegal today.


The core issue is whether Facebook and other companies are allowed to transfer the personal data of their users to the USA and process it there for advertising purposes. On the other side of the Atlantic there is not only less data protection, but there is also the threat of mass surveillance by US secret services.

I think this makes many banner ads on websites illegal because most of the companies are located in the USA.
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