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Cellphones GUI Privacy Your Rights Online

HTC Android Smartphone Stores Browsing Screenshots 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you-read-this-before-your-wife-does dept.
Mad Hamster writes "Boy Genius Report points out that the HTC Droid Incredible, using the Sense UI, 'will periodically store screenshots of the contents of your web browser.' These shots are stored in such a way that they are not easily deleted. 'They remain when the current browser session is closed, they remain after you clear the browser history, and they remain after a full factory reset,' though there is a way to delete them manually."
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HTC Android Smartphone Stores Browsing Screenshots

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  • by Animats (122034) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:54PM (#32618848) Homepage

    And then some app sends those pictures somewhere? Some apps (including Facebook's) have enough permissions to access those images and send them to a remote site.

  • Re:Hahaha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by faber0 (234887) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:59PM (#32618926)

    if you are one of a hundret selling android devices you need something to be distinguished with from the others. So they add on their on UI so customers see it as a better android handset as the ones from other manufacturers. If you submitt it back to android then all will eventually have it and you are just one in the android soup again....

  • Re:Huh. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:04PM (#32618986)

    They are thumbnails used for the visual bookmarks feature.

    This is a non-story. this is not "omg they're watching me"

  • Re:Huh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:06PM (#32619002)

    I'm wondering if they are to make thumbnails like chrome does for a "new tab". I use this as my default page.

  • Re:Hahaha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oakgrove (845019) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:12PM (#32619098)

    So they add on their on UI so customers see it as a better android handset as the ones from other manufacturers.

    I guess if your customer's are complete idiots. Otherwise, you get the experience I had when I was at a T-Mobile store yesterday. I was looking at the new keyboarded version of the My3G and the interface goo they layered on top of Android was just atrocious. Garish bubblegummy looking colors and useless craptastic additions do not a superior interface make. It's like the shit pc makers do to Windows. Adding a bunch of useless docks and shit. Sure, technically, you are adding features and differentiating yourself. But, if it's so great, why do practically all of your savvy customers immediately take it home and wipe it all off? Same thing with SenseUi, motoblur, what ever else. It's all just useless unnecessary junk. I have a Droid with a stock albeit rooted Froyo interface. It's gorgeous, uncluttered, and works spectacularly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:15PM (#32619146)

    Do you have a droid? Have you used the browser? Have you seen the thumbnails in the history feature?

    Seriously, taking thumbnails on the client would be the laziest and stupidest way to track web traffic I can think of.

  • by mweather (1089505) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:19PM (#32619218)
    Since when does clicking a file and pressing delete qualify as "not easily deleted"?
  • Re:Hahaha (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:20PM (#32619234)

    OPEN SOURCE

    To succeed in business is to be a sell out. Profit is theft. Corporations are conglomerates of pure greed that contribute nothing to our modern society. Intellectual property is mind slavery. Everyone is equal and equality means everyone has the same things. It's communism.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:25PM (#32619310)
    A debug feature who's data persists through a factory reset? I don't buy it. And even if it is, its not ok.
  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark@freequest . n et> on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:28PM (#32619350) Homepage Journal

    Troll.
    Has nothing to do with Google.
    The images are not sent anyplace... they live on the SD card and factory wipes don't format your SD card.
    It's all working as intended and the story might well be labeled a troll as well.

    Besides, iPhones did this too.
    I don't see the fanboys running for the hills.

  • Re:Huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:31PM (#32619404) Homepage
    Why accept the obvious answer when you can assume the paranoid answer?
  • by kno3 (1327725) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:41PM (#32619532)

    A debug feature who's data persists through a factory reset? I don't buy it.

    What are you suggesting it is? A plot by HTC to somehow retrieve private data from its customers? Seems pretty far fetched to me, and it is quite a leap from the evidence presented here. I think occam's razor suggests this is a mistake. Not a small one, but I can't see that it is anything else.

  • by mldi (1598123) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:45PM (#32619596)

    Nope, just a case of someone not turning off the Browser Favorites widget.

    All I can say is "duh". Turn it off and you're fine. It's called a "cache file" so it can display that big static thumbnail image in the widget if you choose to use it.

  • by orient (535927) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:47PM (#32619622)

    A plot by HTC to somehow retrieve private data from its customers?

    What about a way to obtain proof of child pornography possesion? Or proof of browsing undesirable web sites? Or proof of... whatever the masters might want to prosecute you for? Far fetched, but not impossible and a conspiracy theory is just a theory until it is proved.

  • by prockcore (543967) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:52PM (#32619690)

    The article is misleading.. they're on internal storage if you don't have an sd card.

    They're also *only* created for bookmarks.. if you don't make it a bookmark, no thumbnail gets created.

  • Re:Huh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:09PM (#32620468)
    Sorry, but I don't want a reset clearing any user data on persistent storage.
  • Stories like this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kindbud (90044) on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:27PM (#32620648) Homepage

    Are why we need to be able to moderate the article itself.

    Is there a running contest among /. editors to see who can approve the dumbest stories?

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Friday June 18, 2010 @09:09PM (#32621444)

    I find myself contrasting the response Microsoft would get if they left something similar on Windows Mobile, and the response Android gets. Although there are a few folks in here with a bit more pessimism, the bulk seem to be willing to assume it's just a 'simple mistake'.

  • Re:Huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michaelhood (667393) on Friday June 18, 2010 @09:50PM (#32621664)

    It’s not the SD card, and people stating otherwise are lying. That is part of my point.

    I really wish you and that commodore64 kid would leave the Slashdot I know and love with your paranoid delusional trolling.

    C:\android-sdk-windows\tools>adb shell
    # find . -name *.jpg | grep -v -e customize -e contacts -e wallpaper -e DCIM | more ./sdcard/.footprints/thumbnails/1272099190529.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/mcd0bb890.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/scd0bb890.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/m46bb1b3c.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/s46bb1b3c.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/mdabb3bb3.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/sdabb3bb3.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/m66c70c76.jpg ./sdcard/.bookmark_thumb1/s66c70c76.jpg

    [snipped for brevity, more of the same follows]

    the /emmc/ folder that's present on some Android devices (including the incredible) is a mount point for the internal eMMC storage. it's a bus for a type of embedded flash memory (like SDHC for removable cards).

    when there's no SD card, the phone might choose to use this embedded storage (or might choose to use it for other reasons).. it's not really the same as the "internal storage" (which is wiped in a factory reset).

    this is a simple oversight on the part of HTC and/or the Android team - not making it more obvious, on devices that have eMMC (very few models of which exist yet), that this is another persistent area of storage that needs to be treated like the SD card when it comes to privacy concerns.

    there is no conspiracy here, just innocent mistakes in a massive contribution-driven software project.

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