"Burner" cellphones, pre-paid phones that are used and discarded, have become a handy way to protect your identity if you find yourself dealing with people you might not otherwise want to meet. Just lately it has become possible to get "disposable" phones without the phone, thanks to apps like Hushed, which provides a limited-use virtual number that can be easily substituted for your real one. Burner is a new competitor in the same vein, happily landing on Android after considerable success on iOS.
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:
We've all had this happen: your phone rings and the caller ID shows only a number because the contact isn't in your address book. You've no idea who it is, so you reluctantly answer. Turns out it's either someone you don't want to talk to, a wrong number, a bill collector, or some other person you'd have rather avoided.
Before today, an app called Mr. Number could've made that scenario play out a little bit differently.
One of the changes to the Play Store announced at Google I/O as "coming soon" was the ability for app developers to publish links to their privacy policies, thus making their intentions more transparent right out of the gate. By using Android apps, we allow a lot of personal information to travel through the tubes, and it's in everyone's best interests to disclose just what exactly happens to it in an open way.
Google's data collection policies have been the subject of intense debate lately. From consolidating its privacy policies into one big document, to using personal Google+ info to power search results, Google and data have been making plenty of headlines. If it makes you feel any better, though, Google's totally willing to share that data with you! Enter Google's new Account Activity Feature.The service is opt-in and gives users a monthly report of their account usage.
Privacy is a good thing in the digital world - you'll get no argument from me. I don't like my data floating around in cyberspace without my consent, but I also realize that much of what makes the internet (and computing generally) so great is that I can use my own judgment to decide who I will and will not trust with my information.
Things like app permissions, which have been a part of the Android package installation process for quite some time, are nice, but let's face it: 95% of us don't read them.
Congress is a lot like a slot machine - once in a while, something good comes out. A new bill introduced by Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts would require cellular carriers in the US to disclose to end users upon purchase of a mobile device any tracking software present on said device, or any such software that might be installed at a later date by the carrier, manufacturer, or OS provider (that would be Google for Android).
A few months ago, an app called LBE Privacy Guard landed in the Android Market, which allows for fine-tuned control off app permissions, data usage, and more. It looks like the developer of said app has been hard at work since then, as a new, completely redesigned version is now available. While the name may still be same, the updated version is an entirely different listing altogether, and the previous listing has become home to a Chinese-specific version of the app.
Hot on the heels of the previous privacy/security advisory about A.I.type Keyboard sending your keystrokes to the cloud in plain-text, some of our commenters pointed out another, much more popular app that does something similarly privacy-invading.
As it turns out, Dolphin HD, one of the top browsers the Android platform has to offer, sends pretty much every web page url you visit, including those that start with https, to a remote server en.mywebzines.com, which belongs to the company.
In the Android world, privacy is a huge concern for most users. We've seen our fair share of malicious software, questionable apps, and out-of-place permission requests. If privacy is something that you hold near-and-dear to your heart, then we have an app for you.
It's called LBE Privacy Guard, and in a way, it's quite similar to UAC (User Account Control) in Windows.