Privacy Apps and Settings

  1. elanglois
    Lollipop Jun 12, 2019

    elanglois , Jun 12, 2019 :
    I would add in a small is it concerning how advertisers are now tracking you with your microphone and ultrasound and that's one of the many reasons to keep your microphone off.

    also you can kill Google Play services by using micro G. However, starting with a custom ROM so you can make absolutely sure there's no Google app fighting anywhere else or using a really good deep loader to get rid of all the Google stuff would really help when using micro G

    Georgeoneplus7pro likes this.
  2. elanglois
    Lollipop Jun 12, 2019

    elanglois , Jun 12, 2019 :
    As stated, it wants to check for new versions on its own.

    If you are worried about network access, try one of the many netstat apps like App Snitch, or be able to control all access per app with something like NoRoot Firewall.

  3. roman_p
    Gingerbread Jun 12, 2019

  4. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 12, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jun 12, 2019 :
    Like I said, I'm not willing to accept what they state.

    They can publish those apps on Google Play Store and we will update from there. Even if that is not possible, making network access mandatory to use an app like screen recorder or file manager makes it questionable.

    If I can install an app from apkmirror, I sure know how to update it. I don't need the app to do that for me.

    I'm using AFWall+ and I have disabled internet access to that whole bunch of apps:


    If you look into that list, system update is also listed. But despite being blocked, I can still run system update to check for updates. It is slower, but still works. I don't know how.

    Also, every time I boot my device, the firewall app takes some time to start, which is probably enough for the system to send all the data it wants, wherever it wants.

    Eduardo G. and G_plusone like this.
  5. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Community Expert Jun 13, 2019

    dsmonteiro , Jun 13, 2019 :
    Which device are you currently on?

  6. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 13, 2019

  7. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Community Expert Jun 13, 2019

    dsmonteiro , Jun 13, 2019 :
    To report the issue.

    G_plusone likes this.
  8. G_plusone
    Marshmallow Jun 13, 2019

  9. roman_p
    Gingerbread Jun 13, 2019

  10. Eduardo G.
    Gingerbread Jun 14, 2019

    G_plusone likes this.
  11. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 17, 2019

  12. MarkLR
    Jelly Bean Jun 17, 2019

    MarkLR , Jun 17, 2019 :
    Interesting threads, nice to see someone else who is concerned with security. Maybe it wasn't available when you made this thread (I see it is quite old and has been bumped recently), but the OP3 has had a built in "firewall" for a while. I like to block apps from accessing the internet (disable wifi and data) if they're not strictly internet related apps.

  13. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 17, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jun 17, 2019 :
    The built in firewall has a whitelist for OnePlus apps, the irony.



  14. MarkLR
    Jelly Bean Jun 17, 2019

    MarkLR , Jun 17, 2019 :
    How nice. Can you link me to what kind of data is being tracked, if it is even known? If they only log app usage, crashes, and no personal info, I wouldn't care too much. If you even log into the internet, you are being tracked, there is no real way around it unfortunately. After a while it becomes too tiresome to block all tracking, you will start to lose useful features in the products you use.
    This what I do when it comes to my phone:
    Browser: use Firefox with ublock, cookie autodelete (this will delete cookies after you close a tab, there will be minimal cookie tracking but better than allowing no cookies which will break many websites), https everywhere, and some kind of referral blocker
    System: disable all the stuff that the OP has mentioned already. On top of that like I said I use the firewall to block apps that do not strictly require internet.
    Google stuff: I disabled all Google apps except the ones that cannot be disabled because I don't want to be rooted (Google Play Service cannot be disabled, but you can disable pretty much everything else). Play Store can be disabled, I just enable it when I need it and then disable again.
    I need to test if I can remove my google account altogether and then add it back when I need it. Unfortunately I've been using Gmail since it was invite-only a million years ago, so I can't fully get rid of it now.
    YouTube: disable the official app and use Vanced instead. Not sure if current versions of Vanced are still safe, the one I've been using for nearly a year now seems to be perfectly fine (yes, it's outdated but who cares).
    Root: I am not really sure how it works nowadays because I never felt like the OP3 needed to be rooted, but on my older phones (been using Android since version 1.6) rooting meant that your phone became vulnerable to additional exploits. For example, I remember that on KitKat it was possible to unlock the phone even if locked as long as it was turned on, it was also possible to extract the lock pattern or pin and decrypt it on a PC.

  15. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 17, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jun 17, 2019 :
    I don't know what data is logged, sent, where, etc. but I don't feel too comfortable with the fact that a useful feature like blocking internet access is not available to those apps.

    I use AFWall+ to block all those apps as you can see in the second link, but I am not sure how effective it is. System update, one of the apps in that list, can still run despite being blocked. Also, the firewall app takes sometime to start on every boot, which gives enough time to the system to send any logs it wants, wherever that is.

    Overall, while they have provided a useful feature with an inbuilt firewall, the inability to use it on some of their own apps is the irony. For example, screen recorder and file manager - why shouldn't I be able to block these apps from accessing the internet?

    A lot of questionable implementations and loss of trust as a result.

  16. MarkLR
    Jelly Bean Jun 17, 2019

    MarkLR , Jun 17, 2019 :
    I want to believe that OP only logs app usage\crashes and purely diagnostic stuff like that. It may be worth it to investigate the actual packets being sent, and what they contain. I lack the skills and knowledge to perform such investigation though. Some of the connections you're seeing may be related to Google Drive, the built in file manager has integration with GDrive. The recorder though, I have no idea.

    By the way, I forgot something in my previous post. If you care about privacy you shouldn't use any social network. If you use any social network, you can say goodbye to your privacy so any client side blocking you do will be pointless. I think WhatsApp does tons of logging of personal data, being owned by Facebook and all, but I am pretty much forced to use it because lots of my normie friends use it, and using sms in 2020 is just embarassing (still, I disable read confirmations, last seen, and use no personal photo in there). I think that just having WA installed pretty much nullifies all of my precautions to safeguard my privacy. Installing as few third party apps (especially "free" games) as possible is also advisable imo, since they all track you in some way (even if it's just for the Google ads); that's why I think there is really no point in trying to prevent tracking completely, if you use these devices or the internet at large, you will be tracked. If anything, if you keep using anonymization software (like the OP which uses Tor on his phone, which is just overkill if you ask me, and besides, it has been proven time and time again that Tor is not safe and most exit nodes are heavily monitored for obvious reasons), you may stick out even more among the general public.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019

  17. gerryaj
    Gingerbread Jun 17, 2019

  18. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 17, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jun 17, 2019 :
    File manager with Google Drive integration was a query I had raised long back with no response. Any 3rd party app needs explicit user consent to access files on the Drive, but I don’t know how in this case the file manager can access Drive without explicit consent.

    As a thumb rule, I block every app on my device by default and only apps that require internet for core functionality is granted access. And for such apps, I only grant the necessary permissions. But as you said, for apps such as WhatsApp, we are really left with no option and such apps have full liberty.

    “Scoped storage” is the new thing in Android Q and hopefully it will be of some help.

  19. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jun 17, 2019

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jun 17, 2019 :
    There is no guarantee with paid service.

    But with free services, there is a guaranteed invasion into your privacy.

    gerryaj likes this.
  20. gerryaj
    Gingerbread Jun 17, 2019