03
Apr
CyanogenMod-logo1

Update: So, scratch all that. Steve Kondik took to G+ today to say that CM will return the opt-out option and will not require users to share data. Though it's with a heavy heart, it seems. Expressing some exasperation, he had this to say on the matter:

It's incredibly frustrating that a handful of incredibly vocal users are ready to "fork" over the issue. News flash: there are already a hundred forks of CM... In the end though, we should respect everyone's wishes here.

CyanogenMod is one of the most popular Android ROMs as far as anyone can tell. It's actually hard to know for sure. When users install the software, they have the option to disable stat collection in the name of privacy. This has caused a bit of a headache for the CyanogenMod team, so Cyanogen himself has made an "executive decision" to remove the opt out. As expected, some folks are up in arms over the change.

cm stat

Cyanogen (AKA Steve Kondik) explains the data is totally anonymous, and it's just about having better analytics. The developers behind CyanogenMod work hard and give the ROM away for free, so maybe letting them know how many people are using CM is a reasonable request. However, there is always the possibility that the data is not as anonymous at the end of the day as we expect. This tends to venture into tinfoil hat territory, though. Perhaps there is some infinitesimally small chance this data could be used for evil, but Cyanogen doesn't think so.

If this stat tracking does make you uneasy, there are more ROMs to choose from. Although, you might want to remove all the Google services from your phone, seeing as Mountain View is gathering orders of magnitude more data about the way you use the device.

[Github - Thanks, Christophe]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001144455023 Michael J Carroll

    April Fools perhaps?

    • Simon Belmont

      That's what I thought too. Though, to be honest, it's not a big deal if it isn't.

      I'm pretty sure it'd be easy to tell in the code if the data wasn't be anonymized, right? At least that's my guess. I'd rather help CM anyway. They're giving us top-notch software.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001144455023 Michael J Carroll

        It was the whole not knowing how anonymous it was that made me think that it possibly was. Anyways, it doesn't bother me. I like CM.

      • Jamesy

        That's the problem. If it includes a timeframe, and content, its not anonymous. That's a fundamental principle of data.

        Maybe he's saying that when he views it, its anonymous...but as long as these data points exist, there always tied to a device.

        This is something they need to clear up, publicly.

  • Guest

    I'm so pissed that I can no longer have the decision to help make developers improve their software.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rmkattan Rami Kattan

      Can you decide whether to let Google/Facebook/Mocrosoft/Yahoo/others get statistics of the usage on their software (Web apps) or not?

      don't forget about ROMs themselves, who knows what does Samsung/HTC collect about how many devices are ON all the time.... at least CM tells you they collect data.

      • cwagner

        I think it was a joke and Guest was complaining that he couldn't feel good about himself anymore by saying "I choose to support them!". Might be wrong but that's how I read it.

      • squiddy20

        Well that one flew right over your head...

      • RaptorOO7

        Don't forget Google is telling the developers all about us on every app we buy. They never disclosed that to us.

  • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

    'Foolz

  • Guest

    It's open source, it's pretty easy to look in the code and see what kind of data they're collecting. No worries!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rmkattan Rami Kattan

      I already did so long ago, the send what they say they send: device model, rom version, telephony provider name and code (mnc/mcc), and the unique device ID encoded in MD5, nothing personal about the users them selves, the only unique data is the device ID which is needed to count the device only once.

    • http://twitter.com/SmittyTony1 SmittyTony

      like Roger replied I am impressed that someone can earn $6877 in a few weeks on the network.

    • http://twitter.com/SmittyTony1 SmittyTony

      ...---goo.gl/tikF7 (Home more information)

  • Brian Tomlinson

    I've always assumed that there was a bit more data than just number of users, but have always turned the stats on so as to help the CyanogenMod team out. Even if it's only a matter of knowing how many people are actually using the rom, it's helpful to them, painless for the user, and ultimately factors into the bigger picture of them being able to put out a better product. I don't see the harm in that.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

      Well, the project is open source so if there was something sinister going on, I'm sure someone would have caught on by now.

      • http://www.brianctomlinson.com/ Brian Tomlinson

        Exactly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DionJ Dion Jones

    April fools or not, I always opt in to this program. The least I can do is help them give me better software, right?

  • trent

    I'm not buying it

  • http://www.facebook.com/zapote21 Luis Reich

    Who cares? If you don't like it dont use it

  • Freak4Dell

    People will complain about the stupidest things.

  • Carlos

    It's April first guys.....

  • Joseph Cascio

    I don't think it's April Fools. If it is, it's a pretty bad one because it's too plausible. CM has every right to do this and people need to chill the eff out. You are literally flashing unofficial, official software to your device. If you care about privacy stay on stock. Keep up the good work CM, I always enable stats.

    • Freak4Dell

      If you ask me, the April Fool's jokes that are plausible are the best ones. It's pretty obvious you're lying when the lie you're telling is impossible. People are more likely to believe it if it could actually happen.

      • Joseph Cascio

        The point I'm making though is, so what if it's true or false. We aren't losing anything and we aren't gaining anything. If anything, removing the opt out feature could clean up the code and make CM even more stable.

        • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

          Yes you are, it uses bandwidth you paid for (no matter how small) to send data without your expressed authorization. No worries, if this is true, I will block it just like any other app that uses my data without my permission. Screw CM, free software or not.

          • Freak4Dell

            Hang tight. The whambulance is on its way.

          • Joseph Cascio

            You realize it only sends the stats once every time your flash to CM and once every CM update. I bet it uses less than 3 MBs a month even if you flashed every nightly. I bet your the type who never donates to CM either. "It's my bandwidth, it's my anonymous info, it's all mine. Why should I let CM know I'm using their software." Greedy brat.

          • squiddy20

            If you honestly believe sending this little amount of info uses THAT much bandwidth, you have no clue. We're talking about < 1MB over the course of an entire month. OMG IT USES SOOOO MUCH BANDWIDTH!!!!!!

          • dude

            Don't use it then you f****** hypocrite.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

            I wonder if Cyanogen can build in a feature that explicitly blocks you from installing it on anything you touch. I'd donate for that (and I don't even use CM).

    • flosserelli

      "If you care about privacy, stay on stock"

      Lol.

      Really, I laughed out loud.

  • markus

    It's a joke!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It really isn't.

  • Maung Moe

    /zzzzz....

  • HopelesslyFaithful

    lol...i m saying April fools and if not...the best thing against it is this:

    if it is all about how many people use it than you can just look at the downloads and updates...pointless bs change

    but i am still going with April fools

  • http://twitter.com/PackFanJason Jason

    Doesn't bother me in the least, April Fool's or not. I keep it enabled to begin with.

  • http://twitter.com/zackeryfretty Zackery Fretty

    It's not a big deal. Google Analytics tracks you on most of the sites you visit. When you visit a website you don't get a "Do you want to opt out of Google Analytics?" window. /me shrugs it's free if you don't like it go use AOKP or something.

  • MeggaMasta

    Always enabled, so it doesn't make a difference to me.
    If i can help with sending information to the Devs, developing a ROM i'm using since almsot three years, then i'll fukken do it!

  • Georg Eitler

    Always enabled, so it doesn't make a difference to me.
    Also, if sending data (once) to the guys, developing a ROM i'm using since.. three years (+/-) is helpful, then i'll fukken do it! Giving and taking, ppl.

  • Rico

    So what, i haven't seen a stable of build of cm 10.1 yet for the galaxy s3, you cant op out on a rom nobody is using anymore.

    • Abhigyan

      Eh. Perhaps diss old Sammy for that? I believe they haven't open sourced all their vendor blobs to the extent that CM requires to build properly.

  • PhillipCun

    yeah its not a big deal, but forcing users to opt in could be a privacy concern?

  • prashant wosti

    it is good. anyone (developer) would like to know their application counts and stats. I'm sure there is nothing evil behind enabling stats. I support cyanogen.

    Regards,

  • On85

    We must know whether we are successful-otherwise how are we going to sell that notification area space for advertisers?

    • Abhigyan

      So much butthurt. Wake up. And then grow up. Go read the history of how CM functions. Then you'll see why it's no big deal.

      • On85

        Butthurt? This change is pointless. Choice is always better than not having any. Grow up and stop praising bad choices just because you have got something for free. Read recent history of Ubuntu.

    • squiddy20

      What CM based ROM are you running that has ads in the notification area? Been on CM since I got my Sprint Galaxy Nexus and haven't seen one ad in the notification bar (that wasn't due to some 3rd party app, which I immediately deleted).

  • dude

    People will bitch and whine about anything, even its hardwork done by developers who don't get paid and given out for free. If you don't like it, don't use it or take the code and fork it. We don't want to hear you whine.

  • Jamesy

    Why don't they just tell us EXACTLY what they're collecting--publicly. If the goal is to find out how many or use it..it'd be pretty easy to force users to run one, and when disabled, to return a status update saying its being disabled. They're full of crap. ...if this is about monetization, they should say so. But there is literally no reason to have CM Stats updating all the time. Again, if this is just collecting install data...transmitting once is ALL they need.

    The only reason to run the service continually...is if its continually collecting data, and it needs to cont inually transmit that data. And only personal and identification data (which is ALWAYS identifiable) need constant transmission.

    So why don't you cut the BS...the crowd that uses CM aren't the average, uneducated user base you intend on acting like we are.

    I seriously hope he reads this and responds publicly. If he had been transparent, there wouldn't have been a need to make "an executive decision". Give us a screens of one of the data points. You want my data? Earn it...or end up like carrier IQ...with dozens of applications floating out there to detect the service...and netters it.

    • http://www.brianctomlinson.com/ Brian Tomlinson

      https://plus.google.com/u/0/103583939320326217147/posts/GwnzKJijBKj

      Koush was kind enough to post the above on Google Plus.

      • Jamesy

        MASSIVE thanks Brian. That's the type of information we need.

      • Jamesy

        But the scope of data being collected is much, much, much more personal than they admit. They're collecting IMEI data, and there are hundreds of other plot points in Google analytics. So they're collecting a treasure prove of data...what are they using it for? Will this make a better CyanogenMOD? Probably. Will it make a much, much better CM? No. Its neat for them to have, and that's about the extent of it...unless they intend to monetize the software.

        The truth is, they have no need for the data themselves. If they need data on the apps within CM...they said it themselves, the apps themselves can collect the data they need.

    • ScottColbert

      Proof or stfu.

  • armshouse

    Think this is a good idea! Why not give them a bit of info!

    And anyone worried about the data collected, have you not clicked 'preview data'? Its nothing personal at all - unique id, device, version, country and carrier

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

    I always opt-in anyway, partly because I am naïve but also because I love CyanogenMod and want to help make it a better ROM.

  • http://acmaki.com/ Anthony C. Maki

    Koush updated his G+ post to say, "Not april fools"…? https://plus.google.com/103583939320326217147/posts/GwnzKJijBKj

  • http://twitter.com/DooMMasteR DooMMasteR

    It basically is not anonymus, reversing the hash of the IMEI is a matter of 1,5-2h of ocl-hashcat on a better PC :P

  • LAKAME

    I always disabled it because my data and wi-fi are almost always off. If not, I'd be glad to do what I can to help the CM Team :D

  • Sqube

    So basically you guys flipped him the bird because he wanted usage statistics on what he created. Yes, you've got the right... but it's kind of a dick move.

    I'm still not clear on how having this (anonymous!) information is so terrible.

    • PopeFrancis

      Paranoia

  • RaptorOO7

    Yeah, its opensource, but at great time and expense for the developers who get no monetary gain from it. I don't see the big deal with allowing them to know how many times its been installed and on what kinds of hardware. We give Google far, far, far more personal data and details about our life in exchange for "free" services.

    I am disappointed that they backed down to such pressure, if you didn't like their decision there are lots of other free ROM's to choose from.

    • Freak4Dell

      Yeah, it's sad to see them back down to a few whiny, ungrateful children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kathryn-Anna-Fortunato/712995818 Kathryn Anna Fortunato

    Usage stats have been enabled on my systems since Day 1. I <3 CM, and I want them to be able to collect useful anonymous data on my system to help improve it, wring out any issues they find as a result, etc.

  • Jamal Adam

    I really don't get what the big deal is, I mean we are using CM for free and if you don't like it then don't use it but the least you can do is help the CM team by giving them data that is anonymous so that they can better serve us. Some people need to either just shut up or go away.

  • Dan

    Screw the whiners. Make the software you want to make, the way you want to make it. Everybody who bitches about it can get a full refund.

  • Shay Clark

    Wouldn't a pretty awesome middle ground be to just remove the enable/disable notification and then default the option to ON? Surely they'd get more stats that way, and still please those who are freaking about their ability to disable the option.