@John_Andersson Thank you for the link. It’s interesting, but definitely NOT surprising. In Poland, the government has a Covid-19 app. They require people who are on mandated quarantine to download it. This app tracks your location by asking you to do certain tasks, like take a selfie & send it in, in order to verify that you are at the location you have indicated to the authorities. If you ignore the tasks, the police shows up. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pl.nask.droid.kwarantannadomowa
Hmm. That sounds awful to me. What if you don’t have a smartphone? Do you have to get one?
@John_Andersson If you refuse to download the app (which you have a right to) then the police just randomly come by to check on you. They will ring the doorbell or your phone & they will ask you to come to the window and show yourself. It’s pretty serious.
The New York Times posted an article (“U.S. Agency Uses Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says”) on 23 January 2021 that began in this way:
WASHINGTON – A military arm of the intelligence community buys commercially available databases containing location data from smartphone apps [emphasis added] and searches it for Americans’ past movements without a warrant, according to an unclassified memo obtained by The New York Times.
Do I need to be a paying subscriber to read this article ?
@kirkmahoneyphd Thanks for this. I’m definitely going to read it. It’s a bit disturbing, isn’t it? But then again, it’s not a surprise. Google is a goldmine for police. They can use it to find suspects and witnesses near crime scenes. Also, LE agencies have been using publicly available DNA databases (such as 23&me, Ancestry, GedMatch) to identify potential suspects of crimes, by tracing their genealogy. I think technological innovation might be a Pandora’s box.
@John_Andersson I was able to get in without a paywall. I believe the NYT allows for a few free articles per month. Let me know if it works for you. I can always send you a PDF
Thanks, I got in
Very interesting article, even more so if you follow the links to other reports.
What I would like to know is what kind of deal google has with companies that uses the google services in-app, regarding the searched data. What level of privacy on the data is required to prevent google from legally using it in the ad business for instance?
I give an example: We looked at a few houses up for sale on the countryside and used the websites maps to view the surroundings and available public transportations. Did spend 15 min, at the most. Same evening on Instagram, ad on top: “Are you thinking about moving to the countryside but hesitates?””
@John_Andersson What happened to you is called “re-marketing” or “re-targeting.” It’s pretty standard on Google Ads. It’s a form of technology which enables a Google Ads customer (not you- but the the company which pays Google) to follow potential customers as they move across the internet. When a potential customer (YOU) visits a particular site which uses Google Ads, a small snippet of code (remarketing code) on that website adds YOU to a remarketing list. Then, when YOU visit another website that uses the Google Ad network, YOU are served the targeted ad. Pretty clever & sneaky at the same time, if you ask me.
Thanks for the explanation. Didn’t make me feel better about it
In some cases, ignorance truly is bliss.
Makes you wonder where it will end and what the solution is, if there’s any?
@John_Andersson In my personal opinion, technological innovation might be a Pandora’s Box. However, I don’t think we’ve reached a point of no return, just yet. I believe the privacy revolt is coming. I can feel it and Mudita is leading the way
Well, I have to relearn how to deal with a mobile device that has no GPS. I will relearn to look in advance on OpenStreetMap and when a train goes. And maybe I will buy a waterproof paper map of my home city and have it arround when I suspect I could be lost.
Besides that, during the pandemic I did not felt the need to use any kind of mobile navigation. I can start fresh when this situation is finally over.
Thanks for the interesting blog entry and the follow-up. As a two-phone strategy for covering needs of different spheres of life was mentioned, I would like share my privacy conscious use case.
I wouldn’t mind using two phones as long as my SIM lives in Pure only . With Pure I’d enjoy low SAR and reduce overall gadget stress. Privacy, security and open source being essential, as well. While not willing to give up many functionalities of map apps and compelled to use phone app messengers (Signal, WA…) I’d keep my Android phone, too. Luckily, that does not have to ruin one’s privacy scenario any longer. An Android phone flashed with a deGoogled, security-focused OS directed to laymen (e.g. /e/ or CalyxOS) outperforms Google’s in so many ways. In my opinion, with the rich ecosystem of ethical solutions now emerging at an accelerating pace the drastic choice between total privacy and no-privacy is just one of the options on a privacy-no-privacy continuum.
Personally, I wish to be able to use Pure as an essential part of my personal solution. And a privacy-enhanced Android as a second phone dependent on 4G connection residing in Pure. For this dream to come true I wish Mudita Pure will be able to share 4G to Android and/or iOs phone, eventually Tethering to iPad pro
I agree, an offline mapping option would be very nice, although idk how the integration of it would work
What a great conversation we’re all having here. My personal opinion is that the pure should not have any GPS whatsoever. One of the main reasons I have bought a pure is because of its philosophy when it comes to privacy. I read a thread on this forum a couple days ago about a guy who has developed a free turn-by-turn navigation system through text messaging. You basically send a text message with the your destination and your origin to the phone number he provided and you will receive a text message with turn by turn directions. Perhaps this could be it solution for many on the pure.
I also feel that it is a great idea to put the Mudita center app on Android and iOS.
Im in the process of moving away from google as much as possible. Sytarted using protonmail a while back instead of gmail. Right now Im looking at alternatives to google drive cloud storage that is secure.
Earlier today I logged into my google account, reviewing my “timeline”, a function where your location gets logged through your smartphone and visually presented using google Maps, apparently. I got an iphone in 2010 and switched to android in 2014. From 2014 and forward every step Ive taken has been monitored, it seems. Interesting.
In 2020 the only location they recorded me in is in my home. I guess its the wifi when using the computer.
Its strange that despite all encryption and secure technologies, the best device to keep my location data private is my non-encrypted, very unsecure 2G phone.
If you already use ProtonMail and don’t mind paying for privacy and convenience ProtonDrive should be a good fit for you, it’s in beta right now and it doesn’t have a lot of features but it’s evolving quickly and you can expect the same quality as other Proton products in the future.
There are other good alternatives like Tresorit or more complex solutions like Syncthing or self-hosting Nextcloud
GPS isn’t a hard dealbreaker for me, but I am a fan of it for a couple of reasons.
Freedom. I try to get out and explore my city and be spontaneous, and find new things to do in different areas. For example, if I’m in a new town I can look up ‘dog parks’ on my Maps app and have discovered wonderful nearby dog parks I never would have known about otherwise. I can do this easily without having to find a computer somewhere, or go ask someone and have to deal with them using their phones or computers to look it up for me. You could call it anti-social, but it’s more like having a yellow pages in your pocket.
Ease. Maps and directions simply aren’t as available these days the way they were prior to GPS. If I’m at my doctor and they order lab work at a nearby lab, it’s troublesome to get directions from them. There’s just something so easy about being able to punch in an address and get walking directions.
Sustainability. Firstly, I don’t want to have to use paper to print out mapquest directions. Even bigger than that—but not exactly based solely on GPS—I really value ride-sharing. In an effort to reduce my carbon footprint, I use ride-sharing instead of buying and driving ANOTHER car of my own.
My general interest in these kinds of feature phones comes down to phones that make your life easier — with less distractions and more specific utility. GPS increases my quality of life without making me feel complacent, which I enjoy. So it’s something that I wouldn’t mind. To me, it’s no different than having something like a calculator on your phone. It’s purely a tool.
Without GPS, my wife would have to buy ANOTHER device — GPS for her car. And we would have to make even more use of our computers at home, printing pages just to go a restaurant, etc. I know many people who couldn’t justify doing something like that.
Not terribly concerned about the privacy aspect, personally. So long as GPS is only active during use.
@urszula, now that my Android phone has been dumbed down for two months in anticipation of the Mudita Pure, I use the GPS navigator in my car more often.
But, I also have become more mindful about my longer, planned drives. In particular, I now look up a route a day or two ahead of time on MapQuest and/or Google Maps. I may print what one of these sites provides. Or, as I did today for an upcoming drive, I may draw my own map with notes about turns.
By studying maps instead of relying on GPS, I discover “back routes” to my destinations. And, I am learning again to memorize the names of the roads along the way.
To my happy surprise, there often are not too many road names and turns to memorize!
This gives me two benefits over relying on GPS to tell me what to do.
- I still can wayfind when the in-car navigation dies.
- I can tell someone else from memory how to reach the same destination.
@kirkmahoneyphd I’ve become quite mindful about my GPS use. Fortunately, in the last year, I haven’t traveled much and I stick to familiar places in my neighborhood, which limits my need to use GPS. However, this weekend, I had to pick someone from the airport & I realized that I need to remember which way to go. It was an interesting experience.