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Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy? 478

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the introducing-google-cave-view dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After many years I am finally considering entering the smartphone era. Within the mainstream, there seem to be four OS choices: Windows, Android, Blackberry, or iOS: Android comes out as clear winner to me. However, all of the choices in one way or another require sharing a lot of personal information in the Cloud run by their respective corporations. Let alone Blackberry's centralized mail servers; there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google. While Android is less intrusive than iOS, the lack of privacy remains quite annoying no matter how comfortable it is to have your own calendar and contacts centralized. In 2011 is there any option, other than living in a cave, to keep one's own life private while enjoying the wonders of modern smartphone apps?"
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Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?

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  • by CmdrPony (2505686) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:03PM (#38131168)
    And I'm serious. While not as versatile towards own-hosted solutions as the old Windows Mobiles, it's still light years beyond Android and iOS. You can easily use your own Exchange server to sync and share your contacts, calendar and other stuff, which gives you true privacy. It also doesn't leak data to Google like Android does, it doesn't have the malware problem that Android has [techcrunch.com] and the phone itself is a full smart phone with an great UI (Windows Mobile somewhat started lacking in this in recent years).

    The reason for this is simple too. Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy. In fact, they have never really cared about personal data the way Google does. All they want to do is sell you the software and be done with it. Google, on the other hand, gives you the software for free but then keeps tracking your every move. I rather choose the first one, but i guess it's everyone's own choice. I do value my privacy though.

    The only time when you need contact with other servers is to download and install apps, which imo is a stupid decision fueled by iOS and Android doing it that way. Old Windows Mobiles always allowed you to install apps the way you wanted, the desktop Windows way. However, I guess that provides some extra security.

    Nokia has also just unveiled Nokia Lumia 800 [nokia.co.uk], which looks really slick and has been praised by the people who have tested it. Personally I'm going to wait until it's released and read a few more user reviews, but I think that's going to be my next smart phone.

    There is also Nokia's MeeGo-based linux phone, N9 [nokia.com] which is really slick and has all the features you need, too. But support for that might be worse in the future, as Nokia is mostly going to do WP7 phones now.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:05PM (#38131190)

      As is running CyanogenMod on a rooted Android phone.

      • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:36PM (#38132288)

        Although I prefer Maemo since it seems to be the least soul sucking OS around, Android is also quite nice once you install a few odds and ends to clean up the advertising mess - though you need hardware that can be rooted. Applications like DroidGuard, AdAway, LBE Privacy Guard, or similar will put a halt to anything trying call home or get in your way.

        • I wanted Maemo to succeed, but it seems to be knocked back into Gentoo land, unlikely to ever reach more than a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of people, and cost them great effort to get at it.

          Maemo never had time to develop soul sucking modules - if it had gotten anywhere near Verizon, you can be sure it would have become a world-class Dementor.

      • by w0mprat (1317953) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @05:01AM (#38133552)
        I would add that CyanogenMod has a "incognito mode" privacy feature. I would also add nothing really beats rooted Android with a short list of tweaks for privacy. It's also not as hard as you think, there's a lot of excellent work done by the modding community to make rooting relatively straightforward and a lot of the tweaks as simple as side-loading a simple app. It's pretty cool because it makes a lot of it quite of nerdy powerful things accessible to a wider range of people.

        Dare I say the modding community for Android is awesome.
    • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:10PM (#38131230) Homepage Journal

      It also doesn't leak data to Google like Android does, it doesn't have the malware problem that Android has [techcrunch.com]

      The only reason Windows phone 7 doesn't have the malware issues is that there are only like 2 people in north america that use them. If Windows phone 7 ever gets even 50% of the north american users of either iOS or android,it will have such a malware problem that I'd bet you'd be better off putting your social security number on TV than carrying one.

      • by the linux geek (799780) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:15PM (#38131278)
        I seriously doubt that, since it has a locked-down app store and sandboxed applications (fairly restricted API's, no native code.) It should be at least as secure as iPhone OS, if not more so.
      • by CmdrPony (2505686)
        That could be easily reworded for Linux ;-)

        But in fact, by design it wont. Since it uses the app store model, there won't be trojaned applications like with third party Android stores (where most of the Android malware comes from). iOS has a large North American userbase but doesn't have a malware problem. I don't see why WP7 would get either.
      • by plover (150551) * on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:21PM (#38131336) Homepage Journal

        Either fill in the [citation needed] or you're just spouting very tired 10-year-old anti-MS FUD; which quite frankly is a boring topic these days.

        At least do enough research to tell us what security holes Windows Phone 7 suffers from, or tell us from which tank of thin air you pulled the statistic "2 people in north america" from.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          At least do enough research to tell us what security holes Windows Phone 7 suffers from, or tell us from which tank of thin air you pulled the statistic "2 people in north america" from.

          I find it interesting that some people use marketshare as a quality measure, when marketshare is largely irrelevant in terms of the quality of the product offering. For example look at the large marketshare of Windows and the iPhone in their respective markets compared with OSX and WP7 in those markets. I doubt there are that many people who would put Windows and the iPhone in one quality-bucket and OSX and WP7 in another.

        • by erroneus (253617)

          True that. Windows 7 is slowly becoming the next Windowx XP... slowly. And WP7... well, it's still pretty much not the mainstream which means it is (1) not targeted so much and (2) too young a product series to make summary judgements let alone presumptions.

          But you know? Going on the reputation of the maker, I have to cast a reasonable amount of doubt and apprehension about anything coming from Microsoft. That said, they are the least likely to exploit a customer in the way Google or Apple are known to

        • by shaitand (626655)

          "or you're just spouting very tired 10-year-old anti-MS FUD"

          10-year-old may be correct but the way you said it gives the false impression it ended 10yrs ago rather than that the problems have persisted for 10yrs or more.

      • by MrHanky (141717) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:37PM (#38131508) Homepage Journal

        Bullshit. Android's malware issue is there only due to Google doing a lousy job removing harmful apps from the market. Would Microsoft do an equally shitty job if they had a bigger market share? No one knows, but it seems unlikely as their terms are far stricter. Their app store just reached 40,000 apps, though. That's pretty good for a platform with supposedly no users, of which many seem fairly happy with their phones.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:50PM (#38131616) Homepage Journal

        The only reason Windows phone 7 doesn't have the malware issues is that there are only like 2 people in north america that use them

        Remember when that was the line everybody used about Apple computers?

        "The only reason there's no malware for Macs (or Linux) is because nobody uses it! Yeah, that's the ticket..."

    • by leoplan2 (2064520) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:14PM (#38131274)
      Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy.

      That's why Microsoft got a lot of criticism because of the phoning home feature of WGA right? Or that's why MS gives your info to the government even without your consent. Or that's why Microsoft collected PC and phones locations in ther Web map services...

      You should inform yourself a little more, all that glitters is not gold
      • by CmdrPony (2505686) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:22PM (#38131344)

        Or that's why MS gives your info to the government even without your consent.

        Like Google and Apple does too, and every other US company. It's the law, they cant do anything about it. But since you can install and use Exchange with WP7, you can minimize effect of that. Not so with Google or Apple, which want all your data.

        • Google has for several times refused to give people's info to governments before a court ordered them to do so (really, look at /. for citations). Google have even left a big country so it would not need to share users' info with its government. Microsoft and Apple do not.

      • by Tsingi (870990)

        You should inform yourself a little more, all that glitters is not gold

        Win doesn't glitter, maybe Mac does, but I don't think either of them give a damn about you or your privacy.

        As for setting up an exchange server, how much does that cost? I bet it isn't cheap. But you can set up a mail server on Linux for free. And it would probably be a lot less trouble. I can't stand outlook.

    • by hawguy (1600213) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:17PM (#38131300)

      And I'm serious. While not as versatile towards own-hosted solutions as the old Windows Mobiles, it's still light years beyond Android and iOS. You can easily use your own Exchange server to sync and share your contacts, calendar and other stuff, which gives you true privacy.

      Is it really that easy to set up your own Exchange server? Does everyone around here keep a Windows server in a coloc somewhere so they can run Exchange?

      The reason for this is simple too. Microsoft may be many things, but they have always respected privacy.

      Really? Always?

      http://grep.law.harvard.edu/articles/02/08/08/0923231.shtml [harvard.edu]
      http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/users-outraged-over-windows-live-privacy-violations [networkworld.com]
      http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/02/microsft-investigates-hotmail-privacy-breach.ars [arstechnica.com]

      And that's just what I found in a quick google search.

      • by CmdrPony (2505686)
        I didn't say setting up Exchange server would be easy. If you want easy, you use MS/Google/Apple's hosted services. If you want to host it yourself and gain extra privacy, that's when you install your own solutions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jaymzter (452402)

        I'd put it at a medium level of difficulty. I run a personal Exchange server and am able to share appointments and schedules with my wife and access my calendar from my tablet, phone and computer, all without having to rely on someone else or about my privacy. And once set up, it just runs.

        Note: I don't use it to send or receive external e-mail, I only use the calendaring service.

    • by Fri13 (963421) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:08PM (#38131756)

      And I'm serious. While not as versatile towards own-hosted solutions as the old Windows Mobiles, it's still light years beyond Android and iOS. You can easily use your own Exchange server to sync and share your contacts, calendar and other stuff, which gives you true privacy. It also doesn't leak data to Google like Android does, it doesn't have the malware problem that Android has [techcrunch.com] and the phone itself is a full smart phone with an great UI (Windows Mobile somewhat started lacking in this in recent years).

      Stop spreading false information.

      Android is possible to be configured from the beginning only to use any exchange server as well. You do not need to use any Google services or applications if you do not want to do so.

      What comes to malware, so long most serious problems has been in third party resources for applications. And those few in official market, have not been so bad or anything serious. Still, I don't reject that there ain't possibility or anything else. but it is now so widely spread FUD about it that it is already a non-proofed truth.

      And Windows Phone 7 GUI shares opinions very well. And that matter is out of the line here in this topic as well, what is about question of privacy concerning contacts and addresses of everyones elses who phone owners has stored to own phone. So far Windows Phone GUI has nothing to do with it, so bringing it to hype it as biased user does not help at all in this discussion.

      When you can buy a Windows Phone where there are no single Microsoft service or application installed or need to be used, then come back to talk with the GUI.
      Android is more secure and protects much better way the users privacy than your "Windows Phone GUI is awesome" phone does. (The other topic is then how much it is protected or informed the user about risks and same discussion can be gone trough again with any software system out there).

      The only time when you need contact with other servers is to download and install apps, which imo is a stupid decision fueled by iOS and Android doing it that way. Old Windows Mobiles always allowed you to install apps the way you wanted, the desktop Windows way. However, I guess that provides some extra security.

      Android does not force to use only online services to install applications. User can download application, save it where wanted (dropbox, FTP, webdav, microSD... you name it) and then install it with filemanager to Android device.
      The one problem is with Android Market is that you can not download directly from there. But you can install application from there using any web browser (desktop, laptop or even iOS devices or Windows Phone phone) and it gets installed to your Android phone next time you have internet connection (WiFi, 3G etc) and it was activated to Google services and you have Market application installed with Google profile.

      So don't spread lies that Android does not allow installing applications with old fashion way as it does. Even I do so sometimes when I want to install non-official Google Maps version where is just enabled navigation every country. And I don't even need a any Google account for that.

      PS. N9 does not have MeeGo in it. It has Harmattan. Harmattan and MeeGo are two different products and development branches. Harmattan were code name for Maemo 6.0 (5.0 is in N900) and MeeGo was project of Maemo 5.0 + Moblin.
      So do not talk about MeeGo when talking about N9 but only with Harmattan aka Maemo as that is used in it.

      • by syousef (465911) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:16PM (#38132148) Journal

        Stop spreading false information.

        Android is possible to be configured from the beginning only to use any exchange server as well. You do not need to use any Google services or applications if you do not want to do so.

        I'm afraid you're the one, that inadvertantly or otherwise, is spreading false information. Some models of Android phone will not let you even use the calendar or contacts unless you sign up with Google. One my Acer AOD255 I could not get anywhere without signing up with Google, but at least that doesn't have contacts from my SIM card to share. On my Acer Liquid Metal I found that the 2.3.5 image did indeed turn on sharing by default. It gives you the option not to sync contacts with Google but they're shared by default and there are a bunch of different options that will easily trip up even an experienced user. Background data, auto sync, then sync on each of Phone SIM and Google account.

        What is worse is that import and export to SD card are broken - they put all numbers in US number format with dashes hard coded, which makes Australian numbers look wrong and is confusing for an Australian user use to dashes in different location. The stupid thing is import from SIM is not broken and does not do any such hard coding. The easiest way around it is to sync with Google and correct it there since trying to correct it in phone is awkward. When you try to delete a dash it also deletes the preceding number, so you have to delete it and re-enter that number (which is error prone and slow on a small touch screen - in fact if you have more than a handful of contacts it is unworkable). The only other way is to write an app to fix the number format. I found one that did just that but only to US number format. I also found the source but I don't have weeks to spend on a hobby project modifying someone else's code to fix a bug in the OS. So I caved and shared my data begrudgingly.

        I accidentally shared my wife's data because I set her phone up while I was tired and picked the wrong option at setup (default is ticked to share data). Once done it was too late.

        So yeah, please follow your own advice and stop spreading falsehood.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Some models of Android phone will not let you even use the calendar or contacts unless you sign up with Google

          That is only true of the bundled Google calendar app, and you are free to use your own that doesn't sync with them. Even with the bundled one it will work perfectly well if you turn of syncing (how do you think people use it abroad or on Pay As You Go without a data connection?).

          In fact Cyanogen does not include the Google apps for copyright reasons, so if you are really paranoid you could always use that. Google's Nexus phones are unlocked so no need for hacks to install it.

      • Android is possible to be configured from the beginning only to use any exchange server as well. You do not need to use any Google services or applications if you do not want to do so.

        Rubbish. Any consumer Android phone requires registration with Google using a gmail address and associates your phone and various applications and system components with that address thereafter.

    • Windows phone is a design triumph! Who says Microsoft can't innovate?

      My favourite Microsoft advancement is the black bar, which occupies 20% of the available screen real estate.

      There's a little arrow, located on a tiny patch of this bar. I'm so glad this was done!

      Without this, the Apple and Google offerings are crippled by comparison. How is a user supposed to divine that they can swipe a finger, to change screens?

      The committee that approved this, in Microsoft, is due some sort of award!

  • I'm curious, "OP" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:06PM (#38131196)

    Why does Android come out as a clear winner for you, and why do you think that iOS is intrusive?

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:21PM (#38131340)

      I will second the AC's point - why is Android a "clear winner" while iOS is "more intrusive"?

      Not that I necessarily disagree, I am just interested in how you came to that conclusion.

      FWIW, you don't have to share your contacts and calendars "in the cloud" in iOS - it's entirely optional, and you can sync solely through your home machine if you like. If you don't want to share personal info with Apple at all then you can set up a throwaway email account for your Apple ID and top it up using iTunes Gift Cards if you want to spend any more on the store (you *do not* need to give them a credit card at any stage).

      Then turn off all the location services, and I'm not seeing how iOS is any more or less intrusive than Android is.

      YMMV, of course. Pick the best phone for the job - if you're buying new, the Galaxy II S and the iPhone 4S are both excellent if you decide to go Android/iOS.

  • by plover (150551) * on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:06PM (#38131200) Homepage Journal

    OK, so you say you're concerned about the security of your list of contact phone numbers and addresses. Yet when you want to call the contact, you ask your cellular provider via the GSM network to establish the connection. When you email the contact you use the 4G network to access the internet, and send your email to them, secured only on the hop between your phone and your SMTP server, but otherwise probably being transmitted in cleartext. When you bring up their address in the map, you give Google the locations of every place you view. And every where you go, whether it be to a calendar appointment or just out for a stroll, the cell phone is broadcasting your identity and approximate location to anyone interested in such things.

    I think distrusting Google wouldn't be first on the list of privacy actions to take.

    Not having a cell phone would go a lot further protecting your privacy, but you said you don't want the cave option. Get a Kindle Fire (wi-fi only, only when you want it), root it, and add only GPL software you trust, including a SIP client. Carry a Sprint wi-fi hotspot, turning it on only on your terms. Or carry a dumb phone (Sony Ericsson makes one) then use Bluetooth to tether the smart device. Instead of the Kindle Fire, you could use an iPod touch.

    You could even carry an iPhone. To the best of my knowledge, Apple isn't scraping my contact list. Yet. I think.

    • by CmdrPony (2505686)
      That's just nitpicking. You could say the same way that by design Internet isn't private because your ISP can potentially snoop into your connection. The problem isn't ISPs (remember, it's all decentralized still), but third parties like huge ad networks that collect so much specific data about everyone. Google included. That's why it's good to eliminate those first. You could go further and start using only HTTPS browsing and PGP'd email, but that brings it's own challenges.

      Also, when you send email, the
      • by plover (150551) *

        I don't disagree, just pointing out that using any network connectivity gives up privacy, as does carrying a continually broadcasting RF transmitter. The cave is truly the best option for privacy, it's just not a terribly social way to live. ( 'Course, with the cave option you have to have your lackeys bring you porn videos, and there's always the pissed off Marines who don't like that you aren't carrying a cell phone...)

        Anyway, his real first step toward privacy should be installing AdBlock, NoScript, a

    • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:24PM (#38131372)

      When it comes to privacy, I would have to eliminate Android. The very purpose of Android is to farm info via Google. Contrary to the open source stance, Google's business model is collecting and selling information.

      Windows might be a good choice. I haven't heard much yet regarding their newest offering and privacy but given their past stance as a provider of the OS for profit rather than selling your data, I would think at least in the privacy arena, MS themselves should be ok. Malware wise, I also haven't heard of a lot of issues yet regarding their mobile offering. Ironically it's obscurity (read: lack of popularity) may actually provide it some safety in that regard.

      Apple is also a possible selection if you don't mind the walled garden. Apple's curated garden also tends to keep the instances of malware down so the possibility of getting your information mined via third party app seems to be far less than Android. Apple is also like Microsoft in that regard that they aren't in the business of selling your personal data.

      RIM is another that is much like MS and Apple in that they sell hardware for profit. The only drawback with RIM is that you must pipe your data through RIM's servers. They have the added benefit of being vetted by many corporations so that may be a deciding factor.

      Of the 4 I'd either choose Apple or MS based on your criteria (arguments about open source/evil brouhaha, etc. disregarded as they weren't part of your question).

      • by chrb (1083577) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:51PM (#38131626)

        Google's business model is collecting and selling information.

        Not true. Google's business model is collecting users and selling some advertising. They do not sell personal information, and there is no way for advertisers to get access to your anonymised profile. Wired said: [wired.co.uk]

        "For most of its existence, Google has largely decided that what you do on its properties -- such as search and Gmail -- will not be used for its ad program, which shows banner ads on third-party websites. That program uses tracking cookies on more than a million sites to create an anonymous profile of you in order to show you more targeted ads (click here to see your profile). By contrast, the ads you see in Gmail and in Google Search are targeted by the search terms you use, or the words in recent e-mails.

        To date, the only Google site that feeds into the marketing profile is YouTube. Google has long emphasised that it won't use your search history to create targeted ads and that they use different cookies so the marketing cookie can't be matched with your Google user profile cookie -- despite the temptation of untold advertising riches for the taking by combining and mining such a rich vein of data."

        • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:01PM (#38131700)

          Of course they sell information. It may be anonymous but it is still your information. Claiming otherwise is not truthful.

          You should probably post all of the context of that info as you seem to have cherry picked the ones that put things in the best light.

          To date, the only Google site that feeds into the marketing profile is YouTube. Google has long emphasised that it won't use your search history to create targeted ads and that they use different cookies so the marketing cookie can't be matched with your Google user profile cookie -- despite the temptation of untold advertising riches for the taking by combining and mining such a rich vein of data.

          So will Google+, with its likely very rich data about users' interests, feed into that marketing profile -- now or in the future?

          The answer: "Google+ is not part of the Google Display Network" a spokesman said. But that's not to say it won't ever feed that network. YouTube used to live outside that wall as well.

          "We currently do not offer advertising in Google+, but will continue to look for new ways for businesses to engage users in the project," the spokesman said.

          Which is a short way of saying, "Yes, we will have ads, but first we need to get some users."

          Both companies have already wandered into a gray zone by automatically opting users into a systems that uses their "Likes" and "+1 on other websites, so that when you visit a site like CNN.com, you can see which of your friends like that site. Those votes can also show up on ads from companies that your friends have given a social vote too. (You turn this off here for Google, and here for Facebook)

          All arguments aside, Google's primary business is information. They make money from selling it. Trying to claim otherwise is disingenuous.

          • by chrb (1083577) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:26PM (#38131894)
            No they don't. There is big difference between a) putting adverts in front of your eyeballs, and b) selling your information. One involves receiving money from a third party in exchange for putting an advert on your screen. The other involves transferring your personal information to a third party in exchange for money. The former is entirely legal and lightly regulated in most countries (advertising standards). The latter is more heavily regulated, and if they sold the personal data of Europeans they would be liable for criminal prosecution under Europe's Data Protection laws.

            You should probably post all of the context of that info as you seem to have cherry picked the ones that put things in the best light.

            I "cherry picked" the bit of the article that was relevant. Maybe you could highlight exactly where in your extended quote it says "Google sells your personal information", because I can't see it.

        • by afabbro (33948)

          Not true. Google's business model is collecting users and selling some advertising

          Google collects users [wikia.com]? Do they encase them in lucite?

    • by Weezul (52464) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:27PM (#38131396)

      Apple and Microsoft would be worse than Google because Google at least (a) has caught NSLs and (b) published statistics on government data requests. Yes, Google is better at trying to sell you stuff, but that's mostly harmless. And paradoxically Google's skill at selling you stuff is why they don't sell the raw data to anybody else.

      Your phone company would however be much worse than all three, given the depth of their existing relationship with authorities. In addition, your phone company has the least competence in advertising, making them the greatest chance of selling your raw data to advertisers.

      Ergo, it doesn't much matter what phone you use. Worry more about the carrier.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:20PM (#38131844)

      You could even carry an iPhone. To the best of my knowledge, Apple isn't scraping my contact list. Yet. I think.

      They are as of iOS 5: your contacts are automatically copied to iCloud, unless you disable iCloud entirely. (Which, if you care about your privacy, you should do anyway. Then all that's shared with Apple is what apps you use, how long you use them, what calls are made and how long, and where your phone is. The last one being done explicitly for advertising reasons. The first two are for "diagnostic purposes." Read your terms of service, kids!)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:08PM (#38131218)

    Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

    The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

    And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

    My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

  • by TheSunborn (68004) <tillerNO@SPAMdaimi.au.dk> on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:10PM (#38131234)

    Any reason you could not just get an Android phone and then just say no, when it ask you for permission for your location data? It only ask once.

    Then you just need not to add your google account, and you will be free of the cloud.

  • by cheeks5965 (1682996) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:12PM (#38131244)
    It's not about what is stored in the cloud. It's about what the provider does with this info, and what their motivations are. Rim, Apple, and Microsoft are all hardware or software vendors. Their goal is to sell you a phone and make you use it / like it.

    Google is an information vendor their goal is to give you a phone / phone OS so you use it, then spy on you to find out what you like and where you go, and sell that information to others to make a profit.

    So if you're concerned about who is intrusive, then don't use Android.

  • by trschober (1192951)
    just flash CM7 and don't flash gapps, use an alternative market to get your apps, was that so hard to find out? CM7 is fully usable without google propietary apps, you just have to make some compromises (no gmail app, no google navigation, no official market, etc..)
  • by RedLeg (22564) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:13PM (#38131262) Journal

    RIM solved this problem. If you don't want your data on somebody else's server, set up your own BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) with YOUR security policies.

    Taint cheap, but you gets what you pays for.......

    The consumer blackberries connect to BESs operated by the carriers. My corporate owned one connects to OURS, and the company has all kinds of flexibility to impose policy, remote wipe, etc.

    Red

  • by forevermore (582201) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:13PM (#38131266) Homepage
    I didn't have to create an iCloud account to use my iPhone. I don't sync my location, contacts, mail, etc. with iCloud. I back my phone up to my own computer. I struggle to see how this is more intrusive than Android, which required that I sync everything with Google. Granted, I *do* sync everything on my iPhone with Google, but that's another question entirely.
  • Even though I have my phone set up to sync my calendar so I can set appointments and meetings on my laptop and have it reflected on my phone, it still asks you whenever you make an appointment if you want that to be a Phone-only appointment, or a Google Calendar appointment which will be synched (but even then only manually unless you've enabled autosync in the menu). As far as I can tell Phone-only is the default and cannot be changed, so even if on a particular phone "Calendar Sync" is on by default, y

  • by atari2600a (1892574) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:26PM (#38131388)
    You can tell Android's built-in Sync to not touch your contacts, appointments, email & then use the generic (& built-in!) calender & email applications that do exactly the same things over standard protocols...
  • I have an HTC Inspire with ATT. I can take out the sim card and use google voice with wifi. You can also use a gps spoofer app with the sim card inserted and it will report your location as being where ever you want. Otherwise, the main problem is that when you buy a contract you are buying time on someone else's network. They have omniscience when they want it, basically.
  • by thirty-seven (568076) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:29PM (#38131430)
    In spite of that, email communication and web communication is encrypted/decrypted on the BlackBerry smartphone itself, so RIM (the company that does BlackBerry) can't snoop into your data contents even if they wanted to. That's why some authoritarian countries around the world couldn't quite understand - they demanded RIM hand over the secret keys to let them read any message contents, which they just assumed RIM must have, even though they don't. Similarly, with the riots in Britain earlier this year, the authorities complained that the rioters were co-ordinating using BlackBerry phones, and they couldn't intercept those communications. To me, that's a strong recommendation for a BlackBerry if you want security and privacy.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:54PM (#38131662)

      Yes, if one wants secure communications at a consumer price point, then Blackberry is really the only true choice. At the bottom of the list would be anything made by Apple, which- when caught not only collecting personal customer information and all sorts of personal data, without permission or disclosure and stored for years- blatantly stated that they intended to continue doing so, but now with the caveat that they will "only retain it for a year".
      "The controversy surrounding Apple’s location-tracking stems from a discovery by two data scientists, who found that a file stored on iPhones and iPads (“consolidated.db”) contains a detailed history of geodata accompanied with time stamps.

      From Wired - iPhone’s Location-Data Collection Can’t Be Turned Off - Brian X. Chen April 25, 2011
      http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/04/iphone-location-opt-out/

      "Apple claimed in its letter last year that the geodata is stored on the device, then anonymized and transmitted back to Apple every 12 hours, using a secure Wi-Fi connection (if one is available). Although it’s thorough, Apple’s explanation does not address why the stored geodata continues to live on the device permanently after it’s transmitted to Apple, nor does it address why geodata collection appears to persist even when Location Services is turned off. Google does similar geodata collection for its own location-services database. However, it notifies Android users clearly in a prompt when geodata collection will occur, and it also gives users a way to opt out. Also, Android devices do not permanently store geodata after transmitting it to Google."

      "While the collected geodata doesn’t reveal specific addresses for locations you’ve visited, it can still leave a pretty rich trail of a user’s movements. Combine this data with other pieces of information on the iPhone, like your messages and photos, and you’ve got a device that knows more about you than you do yourself, says The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal. Madrigal tested an iPhone forensics program called Lantern, which stitches together contacts, text messages and geodata into a neat interface that reconstructed a timeline of his life."

      “Immediately after trying out Lantern, I enabled the iPhone’s passcode and set it to erase all data on the phone,” Madrigal said. “This thing remembers more about where I’ve been and what I’ve said than I do, and I’m damn sure I don’t want it falling into anyone’s hands.”

  • Depends on what you consider private, but I would put the Android phone last because of the tight Google integration. At least on the iPhone you can have everything local, not synced to the cloud.

    The days of privacy are over for the most part. If you are using cloud services, you can be sure your data is being mined in some way.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:32PM (#38131454) Homepage

    there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google.

    It is perfectly workable to plug in your old SIM with phone numbers stored on it and use them from an Android phone without ever setting up a Google account. It is also possible to add fully featured contacts and calendar appointments locally on your phone without sharing them with Google.

    If by "working decently" you mean the phone should seamlessly sync with your other devices through the cloud, you have the option of setting up your own SyncML server, and most manufacturers also include MS Exchange ActiveSync as well.

  • Why not Symbian? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:32PM (#38131456)
    Sure it is a dead OS, but it's got a few years of support (Four solid years if you believe Nokia and Accenture). You can get a brand new unlocked Symbian^3 smartphone for less than $400: http://www.amazon.com/Nokia-Touchscreen-Featuring-Navigation-Camera--U-S/dp/B003ZX7RL4/ [amazon.com] The N8 has a great camera, better than almost any other smartphone out there, an FM receiver as well as transmitter, USB on the go, and a micro HDMI out port. You can install and run whatever apps you like. you can tether it out of the box as-is via USB or bluetooth. sure some third-party apps want to call home, but the phone warns you when they do, and it's easy to disallow/disable.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      Sure it is a dead OS, but it's got a few years of support (Four solid years if you believe Nokia and Accenture). You can get a brand new unlocked Symbian^3 smartphone for less than $400:
      http://www.amazon.com/Nokia-Touchscreen-Featuring-Navigation-Camera--U-S/dp/B003ZX7RL4/ [amazon.com]

      The N8 has a great camera, better than almost any other smartphone out there, an FM receiver as well as transmitter, USB on the go, and a micro HDMI out port. You can install and run whatever apps you like. you can tether it out of the box as-is via USB or bluetooth. sure some third-party apps want to call home, but the phone warns you when they do, and it's easy to disallow/disable.

      you know what's funny about series60? it's had 4 years of life left for the past _10_ years.

  • Why should they dumb down? Machines taking over the world have to start somewhere; why not in your pocket?
  • by lars_boegild_thomsen (632303) <lth.cow@dk> on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:35PM (#38131480) Homepage Journal

    While I admit I haven't tried, it should be possible to run an Android phone without ever signing into Google - indeed without a Google account whatsoever. The email application support POP, IMAP or Exchange, the contacts can be synced with SyncML or Exchange (and a few other options I am sure), applications can be sideloaded, IM+ does a pretty good job with Jabber etc. Surely it would make it somewhat more complicated but I am quite sure it is possible.

    In other words - Google offer a way for people to run the smart phone without any knowledge about servers and with an extremely simple setup (enter your google account once), but it is in no way forced upon you - so I think it's actually quite acceptable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:40PM (#38131534)

    The problem is that most of the uneducated masses don't care about privacy and don't see a need for it. So they go for the number of Apps or GHz when purchasing a new mobile device, without caring that this device is a fully functional computer with all sorts of sensors that is connected to some sort of network 24/7!

    There were a few attempts at true Linux mobile devices, but even the last two devices with potential (the Nokia N900 in 2009 and N9 this year) only got a lukewarm reception mostly due to crappy marketing and not enough people promoting truly open platforms that let users know what their devices are actually doing in the background.

    The N9 is still up for graps. There is even an independent project called Mer [merproject.org] being worked at that aims to be fully open, based on Meego, feel free to join if you have some coding skills.

    • by Lazy Jones (8403)

      The problem is that most of the uneducated masses don't care about privacy and don't see a need for it.

      No, just no. The unwashed masses simply and understandably don't want lacking usability and battery life as a trade-off for more privacy, just because that's the choice products on the market offer. Since the small advantages of Andoid regarding privacy options are destroyed by vendors (with their tinkering [intomobile.com] and apps) and carriers, the best compromise is still a dumbphone if you can live without a mobile browser, or otherwise iOS if you can't and don't want to spend days trying to figure out how to make you

  • by Fri13 (963421) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:41PM (#38131546)

    Let alone Blackberry's centralized mail servers; there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google.

    You have got only partial information somewhere.

    You can have pure Android smartphone, without any demands to share your privacy with Google. Period.

    If you want to use Android market (market.android.com) then you need to activate your new phone first time to it. It does not mean you need to input your personal email address to it or bond your personal gmail to it. You only need to create a one for your Android market store profile.

    You do not need to use other Google services at all.
    - Not GMail for email, you can choose what ever just offers POP3/IMAP connection
    - Not Google Calender, you can stick what ever just gives standard vcard sharing, even sync manually
    - Not Google Contacts (GMail contacts), you can disallow the syncing contacts with Android profile account and keep them in phone only or in SIM card. You can even from contact book sync them with standard vcard to microSD and sync manually.

    You don't either need youtube account or anything. Actually you don't even need a Android Market profile if you are willing to get your applications somewhere else than Android Market. Like Amazon store or any other third party who you can trust.
    Android Market just makes it easy to install applications (via phone or any browser) to your phones and especially buy them (even that Google changed 24h return time to 15 minutes).

    Corporations can at one step totally skip whole Android activation with Google. They can activate the phone to their own exchange environment (I could thing same thing would be possible to do with Linux servers).
    So corporation IT department can manage the phone without Google knowing anything at all.

    I have used GMail from the beginning when it was just in invitation mode.
    I bought my first Android phone 9 months ago, it is a very cheap one (107€ with 2€/month for unlimited data speed and amount and the phone supports 7.2Mbits connection and nearly full speed (750-800KB/s) as hot-spot for computers with ping being 70-90 by avarage.

    Before that I owned only a Nokia phones. Symbian before Symbian was terrible, I never used it for any things, even it was classified as smartphone (without touchscreen).
    And now, I use Google services very much. Why? Because they integrate very well with the Android and I can really get many benefits from it.
    If wanted, I could have kept contacts off from GMail or my calender off from there. But I don't have a home server what to keep online all the time or I don't want to start syncing contacts and other data with my own rented server.
    If I would have home server, I would really use it for every thing what Android support.

    Did you know that Microsoft has paid to at least one carrier in US to sell Android phones, on what every Google service is replaced with Microsoft own services and user can not install Google services back?
    So customer is tied to Microsoft Bing search, Bing maps, Hotmail, Calender etc?

    People believe that Android forces customer to Google. That simply ain't true. It is just the easiest and actually most secure way to use smartphone.

    Google search
    Picasa
    Google Calender
    Google Reader
    Youtube
    GMail
    Google Docs
    Google Maps .....

    Google offers so many features and none of those need to even be used with your private contacts, emails, etc. You can just disable the sync or add a new offline account for those in phone.

    When it comes to privacy, easiness and many other features. Android just is best, and not even Microsoft have nothing to offer in Windows Phone (7.5 yet... lets see what future shows us).

  • by sombragris (246383) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:43PM (#38131562) Homepage

    And even though it was launched in 2009, it offers a boatload of features that other phones don't even try to match: the Nokia N900 [wikipedia.org].

    • by quixote9 (999874) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @12:25AM (#38132522) Homepage
      I have an N900, mainly because I wanted a handheld computer, not a smartphone. If your requirements are light on the phone-iness of it all, then I recommend the N900 highly. I have all my work, music, etc, synced via bluetooth from my laptop. If I'm stuck for a few hours at an airport or somewhere, it's never a problem. It hops onto wifi networks seamlessly. I use it mainly as a voip phone over wifi, but it switches seamlessly to your cell carrier when wifi is out of range. So my phone bill is about $8 per month. And, afaik, no tracking, marketing, harvesting garbage at all. As somebody else said about Win phones, two or three people have N900s in the US, so no malware problems either.
  • FDroid and friends (Score:4, Informative)

    by Boltronics (180064) on Monday November 21, 2011 @09:48PM (#38131596) Homepage

    Install FDroid, K-9 Mail and Firefox (from the FDroid repositories of course). You can likely even use CyanogenMod without installing all the Android Marketplace if you want - I do this for my HP TouchPad. No need to sync anything with Google.

  • by jimwelch (309748) <jimwelchok.gmail@com> on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:39PM (#38131958) Homepage Journal
    Check them out at http://www.carrieriq.com/ [carrieriq.com]
  • by Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:56PM (#38132036) Journal
    FIrst of all - RIM ("Blackberry") are not running "centralized mail servers". They only connect your smartphone with your IMAP mailbox (say: your existing email account) and do the HTTP-push and wireless part. Their core business was (and probably still is) some sort of middleware between companies' email and calendar servers and employees PDAs and phones. Secondarily: Any smartphone that provides a regular IMAP client or lets you install one will perfectly meet your needs. Almost any smartphone will do. You'll just connect to your actual mailbox via SMTP through the internet, as you do now. No Google involved (unless you are using Gmail). My girlfriends stone-aged Motorola can do this out-of-the-box and so does my Blackberry (I use a BB, but not RIMs data service, just my wireless network provider's regular data plan)
  • Stallman (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pesticidal (1148911) on Monday November 21, 2011 @10:59PM (#38132056)
    Came here expecting to see a link to this video of why RMS doesn't use cell phones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGkNiRFwmOg [youtube.com]. Left dissatisfied.
  • by ridgecritter (934252) on Monday November 21, 2011 @11:47PM (#38132346)

    for the most part. I use an iPhone, in part because the UI works for me, in part because Apple's "walled garden", while limiting, insulates me from an increasing range of malware that I would have to deal with on Android. iOS privacy issues are so far acceptable to me. Android is too open to malware, and too beholden to Google, whose business model depends on your surrendering all your personal information for their use. Blackberry seems like a sunset system, not much future to it. As for Windows, I have had so much grief with MS products over the years that I would never use one if there were any alternative. So for me, iPhone is an imperfect approximation to my ideal. YMMV.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @02:34AM (#38133012)

    Android is a Google product and Google's main business is selling advertising. Android just another channel for ad traffic for Google and so Google does not consider android users to be their customers. Rather, users of Google's services are the "product" sold to their real customers namely, advertisers.

    Given this nature of Google's "free" services, explain to me how Google is interested in preserving your privacy and not intruding on it?

  • by Tomahawk (1343) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @08:17AM (#38134220) Homepage

    When you first login to the Android phone, you have the option to turn off sync for any services you don't want to sync with the cloud. You might leave on mail, but disable contacts, calender and gallery. This way, none of that data will be sent to Google, our pulled down from Google.

    Also, remember that a LOT of people use Google - 200m Android , 550k new daily - so unless there is a very specific need for Google to look at your data, they won't. You can assume that to a fairly high degree your secrets will be safe.

  • So why done we.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @08:43AM (#38134360) Homepage

    Have a Linux for smartphones?

    Honestly, with the number of android phone cracked wide open why is there NO linux on them? OpenMoko was 90% there and all source available. Why dont we even have some "Linux for Droid" or other projects out there?

    Honestly, a "Hardened" smartphone is something that many paranoid geeks would be all over, and the "uber 1337 hax0r's would wet themselves over such a thing.

  • Hard to Believe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday November 22, 2011 @09:43AM (#38134674)

    I know this is hard to believe for most of you, but outside of your Moms' basements, the majority of users see these smartphone features and cloud services as a feature, not a security flaw.

    More importantly, there is continuum of convenience and security. Most of the world thinks you lot here err on the side of security, which compromises user friendliness (hello, ever try to get an entire office to install their certs correctly?) in favor of security. Most users err on the side of convenience, at the risk of security. The correct choice depends on each user's individual needs and situation, and these one-size-fits-all corporate IT policies you all love around here aren't always very good for Average Joe.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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