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11-18-2017 07:05 AM
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  1. a5cent's Avatar
    Spying is probably not the right term since technically, the user
    must agree to the Google TOS to use an Android phone, basically granting permission.
    You are correct, spying is completely the wrong word.
    Legally, I agree. It's not the right term. If we sign a contract allowing a stalker to follow us around 24/7, even into our homes, that's not spying either...technically. But in terms of conveying to the masses what is going on, I think it's exactly the right word.

    I bet even on this site most people are completely unaware of exactly what data is being sent back to google and when. It occurs in a very abstract way, unobtrusively, and at any time. Almost nobody knows what information Google derives from that data. If information about your behavior is being sent back to Google without you being consciously aware of it at the time, then how is "spying" not the most fitting word?

    If I knew of a similar word that conveyed the same meaning with the connotation of it occurring willingly, I'd prefer that word, but I'm not aware of such a word.

    If you're a lawyer, then you obviously can't use the word. Agree. If you're not a lawyer, I question your motivations for not wanting to speak plainly.

    If you have Facebook or Twitter then your data is already being collected. In fact, Facebook will know more about you than Google will. Anyone who thinks you'll be anonymous by not using Google is fooling themselves.
    Ummm... Yes. How does that make any of this good?

    You could just as well say that since 10 people are kicking you, we might as well not care about any of them. Why even care that two are kicking harder than the others (Google and Facebook).

    Lastly, hopefully nobody on this site is actually so stupid as to think they'll be anonymous if they don't use Google. This isn't a "black or white" issue.
    Last edited by a5cent; 11-13-2017 at 09:59 AM.
    11-13-2017 09:45 AM
  2. a5cent's Avatar
    Gee...
    I wonder what the US government, Yahoo, Microsoft, my car or any credit rating service is doing with my volunteered data.
    Just something to think about...

    Why would you volunteer data to anyone if you don't know what they are doing with it?
    Player Piano and ochhanz like this.
    11-13-2017 10:13 AM
  3. Wolfjt's Avatar
    Legally, I agree. It's not the right term. If we sign a contract allowing a stalker to follow us around 24/7, even into our homes, that's not spying either...technically. But in terms of conveying to the masses what is going on, I think it's exactly the right word.

    I bet even on this site most people are completely unaware of exactly what data is being sent back to google and when. It occurs in a very abstract way, unobtrusively, and at any time. Almost nobody knows what information Google derives from that data. If information about your behavior is being sent back to Google without you being consciously aware of it at the time, then how is "spying" not the most fitting word?

    If I knew of a similar word that conveyed the same meaning with the connotation of it occurring willingly, I'd prefer that word, but I'm not aware of such a word.

    If you're a lawyer, then you obviously can't use the word. Agree. If you're not a lawyer, I question your motivations for not wanting to speak plainly.



    Ummm... Yes. How does that make any of this good?

    You could just as well say that since 10 people are kicking you, we might as well not care about any of them. Why even care that two are kicking harder than the others (Google and Facebook).

    Lastly, hopefully nobody on this site is actually so stupid as to think they'll be anonymous if they don't use Google. This isn't a "black or white" issue.
    Absolutely it's not black and white and this is a great topic to discuss. We're being tracked via Amazon, and in brick and motor stores to collect our buying habits. Stores are tracking your through your BT to track pathes people take throughout the store, dwell times in front of certain end caps and the whole like. If you download their app they will get even more data from you. But, they will throw you discounts as well. So we have to decide what we will allow compared to what we benefit from such tracking.
    Laura Knotek and a5cent like this.
    11-13-2017 11:41 AM
  4. xandros9's Avatar
    Most are happy eating a sausage, few care to see how it is made...
    Maybe Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" can use a modern reboot! "The Concrete Jungle"
    11-13-2017 12:26 PM
  5. tgp's Avatar
    Why would you volunteer data to anyone if you don't know what they are doing with it?
    Don't we know what Google is doing with our data? That's why we don't like it. We know little about what the other data-collecting companies are doing with it. Like what they're doing or not, Google is very open about it.

    Just to play devil's advocate, is the reason we're targeting Google here is because they're open about what they do? We tend to believe that Microsoft and Apple and other companies do much less with our data. However, maybe they're just keeping us in the dark. We'd be freaked out if we knew what credit card companies, mobile carriers, and retailers are doing with our data.

    Disclaimer: I'm not saying this is what's happening or even that I believe it's what's happening. I don't know what all is happening. But...

    Just something to think about...
    11-13-2017 02:20 PM
  6. a5cent's Avatar
    Absolutely it's not black and white and this is a great topic to discuss. We're being tracked via Amazon, and in brick and motor stores to collect our buying habits. Stores are tracking your through your BT to track pathes people take throughout the store, dwell times in front of certain end caps and the whole like. If you download their app they will get even more data from you. But, they will throw you discounts as well. So we have to decide what we will allow compared to what we benefit from such tracking.
    No disagreements here.

    Although I do think it's worth pointing out that stores evaluate how the public responds/reacts to different approaches of marketing and sales, but they typically have no idea who those 8000 people whom they tracked were. This occurs anonymously (as you said, as long as we don't install their app and give it all the permissions it requests). That doesn't bother me at all.

    That's quite different from how advertising funded online services work, where the whole point is to tie everything they discern to a known identity.
    RumoredNow and ochhanz like this.
    11-13-2017 03:07 PM
  7. Guytronic's Avatar
    Just something to think about...

    Why would you volunteer data to anyone if you don't know what they are doing with it?
    What online services say they do with your data and where it ends up will always be a risk.

    It's difficult to use services without informational input.
    Growing older has caused us to go online more and more.
    I use Yahoo to help keep crap away from my Comcast accounts.
    I interact with the US government to pay taxes, recieve health, SS and pay benefits.
    I reluctantly use MS services for things...on and on.

    Seems to me it's virtually impossible to tell anyone anything anywhere without them dropping fingers onto a terminal while asking for your information.

    If you're connected then you will have to volunteer info to participate.
    Laura Knotek, a5cent and libra89 like this.
    11-13-2017 03:12 PM
  8. nate0's Avatar
    True that they aren't spying to give your data away to some third party. False that they aren't spying to try and use your data to make money from advertisers that they shove at you.

    I don't want to be an ad sponge. I also don't want Google/Alphabet milking my activities for their own profit with the only benefit to me being that I pay $ for entry to begin with. Sure Android is "free" on paper but just having the code doesn't get you anything but some lines of code. You have to pay for the hardware and network to run it on.


    I'll start a club. People pay me to join and I'll have someone follow them around so I can sell their anonymized activities to whomever wants to buy them and get super rich doing it. Sounds great, don't it?

    There's a very good reason this gets asked about regularly that has nothing to do with paranoia. It's called not wanting to feel used and degraded into a commodity. Too many people just shrug their shoulders and accept it as "there's really no getting around it." For others it really sticks in their craw.

    Yes, these companies are all mining data. But how and why is important; as is what they do with the resultant info. So let's nip the "But (insert X) tracks your data too" straw man argument in the bud. We aren't discussing anyone except Google in here.

    I think you need a different outlook on things, so we clearly agree to disagree. You think I should just bend over and smile as they shove it in and I say no way, Jose.
    Hence the green robot.
    11-13-2017 03:15 PM
  9. a5cent's Avatar
    Don't we know what Google is doing with our data? That's why we don't like it. We know little about what the other data-collecting companies are doing with it. Like what they're doing or not, Google is very open about it.

    Just to play devil's advocate, is the reason we're targeting Google here is because they're open about what they do? We tend to believe that Microsoft and Apple and other companies do much less with our data. However, maybe they're just keeping us in the dark. We'd be freaked out if we knew what credit card companies, mobile carriers, and retailers are doing with our data.

    Disclaimer: I'm not saying this is what's happening or even that I believe it's what's happening. I don't know what all is happening. But...
    Just read the companies ToS...carefully. Google grants themselves the most freedom to do with your data what they want. It seems to me others eventually "catch up", but Google is the entity who continues to most aggressively broaden those powers. That makes a lot of sense, since targeting adds is really their only notable source of income. It's where Google focuses most of their resources... Android is small potatoes in comparison.

    That's not to say the others are so much better. They aren't. But they are definitely not all the same.

    In regard to knowing what Google does with our data:

    I don't know a single person who actually knows what Google does with our data. If you think you do then you're likely ignoring the most important part of their operations.

    Most people have only a very vague idea of what information Google is collecting, but as mentioned in an earlier post, that data is just the raw material. That's not at all what is actually valuable.

    What does have value is the myriad ways in which Google combines data from different sources to accurately derive a profile of who you are and of how much value you are to various industries.

    You may be aware of the criminal profilers TV occasionally glamorizes. Google is doing the same thing on a mass scale, for everyone, not just criminals. The result of that process is what's actually valuable and I can guarantee that it has very little resemblance to the raw data it is based on.

    I once worked on a software project in the telecommunications industry that had similar goals. This was over 15 years ago in an industry where this sort of thing wasn't even part of the core business. Even then it amazed people what can be discerned from very simple and seemingly innocent data collection operations. Google today is certainly far more advanced then we were then.

    Have you ever read or heard anything about what sort of information is contained in such a behavioral profile? Probably not... if not, then you have no idea what Google is doing with our data. I doubt any of us do.

    I suspect that if Google was ever forced to make those profiles public (which will only happen over their dead body), their popularity would instantly plummet.

    I think we can throw Facebook in the same boat. They are probably no better. There may be others as well, but it doesn't matter how many there are. There being more of them doesn't make it any better. It's worse.
    RumoredNow and nate0 like this.
    11-13-2017 03:43 PM
  10. tgp's Avatar
    I think we can throw Facebook in the same boat. They are probably no better. There may be others as well, but it doesn't matter how many there are. There being more of them doesn't make it any better. It's worse.
    Hey I don't disagree with you here. But I think it's hypocritical to call out Google and justify using Microsoft for example when they all do it. But I suppose that makes sense here since this is a Microsoft fan site. Our view is slanted.

    "Selling" your data isn't all bad. If I can profit by selling something I have, I'll do it if the price is right. Don't we sell our time to our employers? Don't we take surveys for a chance to win something? Don't we click ToS, and never read them, every time we download and install something?
    Wolfjt likes this.
    11-13-2017 03:59 PM
  11. a5cent's Avatar
    Seems to me it's virtually impossible to tell anyone anything anywhere without them dropping fingers onto a terminal while asking for your information.

    If you're connected then you will have to volunteer info to participate.
    If you're filing taxes, sure. You can't do that without providing financial information. That information is also directly related to the job the tax-man must do. There are plenty of other examples like that. However, that's completely different from companies that target advertising, where more information is always better. Period.

    The excuse companies typically give for their mass data collection operations is to "improve the user experience". Ironically, there is absolutely no technical reason Google must collect that data and process it themselves to improve our user experiences. Every last bit of it could be done locally on the device, [edit] where only the final results are sent back home [/edit]. There is also no technical reason we couldn't own our own behavioral profiles. Android would encrypt it, upload it to wherever, and all your Android devices would sync with it. Finished.

    If this was really just about providing a good user experience, that is exactly how this would work, since storing, processing, and managing this data is a major cost factor (billions) for Google.

    The reason we must volunteer this much information to participate is because the overwhelming majority just doesn't care. If the majority just accepts it, then there is no reason for it to change. It's not that we don't have a choice. The majority have just chosen (likely unconsciously) to forgo that choice.
    Last edited by a5cent; 11-13-2017 at 05:03 PM. Reason: see edit
    RumoredNow and PerfectReign like this.
    11-13-2017 04:16 PM
  12. a5cent's Avatar
    Hey I don't disagree with you here. But I think it's hypocritical to call out Google and justify using Microsoft for example when they all do it. But I suppose that makes sense here since this is a Microsoft fan site. Our view is slanted.

    "Selling" your data isn't all bad. If I can profit by selling something I have, I'll do it if the price is right. Don't we sell our time to our employers? Don't we take surveys for a chance to win something? Don't we click ToS, and never read them, every time we download and install something?
    Hey, if there is something I hate it's hypocrisy.

    I don't think it's hypocritical at all. It would be if these companies data mining operations were actually all comparable. As I attempted to point out in my previous post, they are not. You may disagree with me there, but given my point of view it's definitely not hypocritical.

    Of all the corporations with big data mining operations, Google is the hardest do avoid. IMHO that's also fair justification to single them out. Facebook can easily be avoided. I actually don't give a rats behind about Facebook's services. Avoiding Google is much much harder. IMHO YouTube has attained a position that makes it almost as essential as water or electricity. I can't think of any other company in the same business that is comparable... again.. fair.. not hypocritical.

    It sounds to me like you're asserting all these companies collect data on users, and then stop. Just because they all collect data doesn't make them all the same though.

    IMHO you're making it far too easy to brush off an idea you disagree with by claiming bias.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    11-13-2017 04:40 PM
  13. tgp's Avatar
    I don't think it's hypocritical at all. It would be if these companies data mining operations were actually all comparable. As I attempted to point out in my previous post, they are not. You may disagree with me there, but given my point of view it's definitely not hypocritical.
    We have no idea if they are all equal. What we do know is that Google is the most open with what they're doing. We know much less about what the others are doing.

    If I were like you and cared about what the data mining companies were doing with my data, I would be much more concerned about the lack of transparency from the others. Hence my belief that what we read on fan forums like this one is bias.
    Wolfjt likes this.
    11-13-2017 04:49 PM
  14. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Read the fine print: Terms of service, privacy policies and the power of knowledge https://www.androidcentral.com/read-the-fine-print
    11-13-2017 04:55 PM
  15. a5cent's Avatar
    We have no idea if they are all equal.
    Except we do. The ToS are different, the data they allow themselves to collect is different, and the number of sources they use and combine are different, not to mention that their main business models are entirely different.

    I have no idea how you can claim not to know weather they are all equal. They simply aren't. Again, that doesn't mean MS or anyone else is so much better, but they certainly aren't equal.
    nate0 likes this.
    11-13-2017 04:57 PM
  16. TgeekB's Avatar
    Except we do. The ToS are different, the data they allow themselves to collect is different, and the number of sources they use and combine are different, not to mention that their main business models are entirely different.

    I have no idea how you can claim not to know weather they are all equal. They simply aren't. Again, that doesn't mean MS or anyone else is so much better, but they certainly aren't equal.
    Let me know if I misunderstand what you’ve said.
    You said no one knows exactly what Google collects.
    You also said you know Google collects more than anyone by reading the TOS. Which is it?
    Im not sure any of us know for sure, but I believe Google is more open than anyone and if we found out they were doing more than they say, their business model would be doomed.
    I’m not saying I trust any of them explicitly, but I don’t understand the focus on Google being the worst and I don’t know how we can avoid all this without crawling under a rock.
    Now it’s time for a beer!
    Guytronic likes this.
    11-13-2017 05:10 PM
  17. tgp's Avatar
    OK @a5cent, you are of course correct. I don't know why I was way out in left field here. I am now convinced that Google is by far the "worst" at data collection, and should be avoided at all costs, at least if you care about that type of thing.

    However, I personally couldn't care less what data Google or Microsoft or Facebook collects about me. Maybe that's why I am indifferent. I trust them.

    To me, the difference between Google and say Microsoft is inconsequential. It's like getting hit by a car or by the TGV. Sure, the train is going to hit you harder, but you're dead either way. Am I more dead if I am hit by the TGV?

    I realize that you and many other users here are from Europe, which is very socialist compared to the United States. I lived in Europe for awhile, and I was surprised by citizens' skepticism relating to government and corporations. I was not used to that, and it was an eye opener for me. You basically don't trust anyone.

    Unfortunately the US is becoming more socialist, but it is still far more democratic. Americans have never experience Communism like Europe has. I suppose your skepticism has some roots where we've never seen that type of thing.

    Also, all the big tech companies are American, which is probably why Europeans think about it more. Maybe we're used to bending over and taking it, but at least it's people from home.
    11-13-2017 05:22 PM
  18. a5cent's Avatar
    Let me know if I misunderstand what you’ve said.
    You said no one knows exactly what Google collects.
    You also said you know Google collects more than anyone by reading the TOS. Which is it?
    Yup, you've misunderstood. I try to choose my words carefully.

    We do know what data Google collects. What we don't know is what Google can derive from that data, a.k.a. what they do with it. Those are two very different things. There is no contradiction.
    tgp likes this.
    11-13-2017 06:06 PM
  19. TgeekB's Avatar
    Yup, you've misunderstood. I try to choose my words carefully.

    We do know what data Google collects. What we don't know is what Google can derive from that data, a.k.a. what they do with it. Those are two very different things. There is no contradiction.
    But like I said, isn’t it apparent what they do with it? If they were doing things we disagreed with, they would be out of business. It’s because we know they aren’t giving it away, selling it, etc. that makes it acceptable to most.

    I don’t use a Google, but have in the past, so I have no reason to defend them. Everyone can choose based on their perceptions. It seems their model works and it’s not because people are dumb or don’t know what a Google is doing.

    Interesting conversation though.
    tgp likes this.
    11-13-2017 06:11 PM
  20. a5cent's Avatar
    To me, the difference between Google and say Microsoft is inconsequential. It's like getting hit by a car or by the TGV. Sure, the train is going to hit you harder, but you're dead either way. Am I more dead if I am hit by the TGV?
    You keep making this a Google vs MS thing. It's really not, or at least to me it isn't. You're the one always going back to that. How many times do I have to state that MS isn't so much better?

    To me it's starting to feel like you have a Google bias and are somehow offended by the idea that these companies aren't all the same. Of course it's fine to just not care about the differences. I completely get that, and that's fine. That doesn't mean differences don't exist.

    In regard to your remarks on Europe I think you're painting with a very broad brush, so broad that it's hard for me to agree with you. Europe is not just one country, but U.S. media can't seem to wrap their brains around that. The government and economic models can vary drastically from one country to the next. I live in Switzerland, which isn't even part of Europe (politically).

    Western Europe has never experienced communism either, and I'd say none of your remarks apply to Switzerland, neither in regard to socialism or democracy. Switzerland is a direct democracy, which is far closer to the ideal of a real democracy than the U.S.' representational system, which even many Americans argue is not really a democracy at all. Either way... this is a huge topic and I'm not sure it's really related to any of this ;-)

    Sorry if I'm getting under your skin. I always appreciate your views, even when we don't agree.
    Last edited by a5cent; 11-13-2017 at 07:42 PM. Reason: spelling
    RumoredNow likes this.
    11-13-2017 06:38 PM
  21. nate0's Avatar
    On a lighter note (debate aside)....One thing I beleive google does with our data, especially if you use the Android platform, is it provides AI/machine learning experiences from the cloud. The google photos app is one and the google now experience is a second app experience that ties into your account and information. Both apps/services provide output based on info, data, etc. it collects.

    To second and also add to a point made earlier...I would not be so concerned about what data they collect or how. But rather what that data produces. Google has a lot. And with having much comes much responsibility.

    Also just a side note from my own thinking: I'm not certain on how long Google's quantum systems have been live, but one things certain...when haveing large databases of information it requires great computing systems to be able achieve even anything with such large amounts of data.
    libra89 and a5cent like this.
    11-13-2017 06:58 PM
  22. a5cent's Avatar
    But like I said, isn’t it apparent what they do with it? If they were doing things we disagreed with, they would be out of business. It’s because we know they aren’t giving it away, selling it, etc. that makes it acceptable to most.
    Disclaimer:
    This isn't necessarily just about Google. It's just an example I use as I consider Google to be running one of the most advanced data monetization operations while also being the hardest (impossible?) to avoid.

    I'm not sure I can explain my position any better.

    As I already asked, do you have any idea what information Google can discern about you from the data they collect? Do you know what their behavioral profile on you looks like? If not, then I'd say it's not apparent to you what Google is doing with that data. All you know is how they are monetizing it. I'm not sure if we agree or disagree on this, but you'll surely agree that "what they derive" and "how they monetize it" are two very different things.

    I suspect it might also be difficult to imagine what can be discerned about a person, even from trivial datasets. For example, the company I once worked for had a 96% success rate at identifying stolen credit cards (before they were reported as such) based solely on how a person would dial a number at a public pay phone (yes, that was also a bit before my time but I did get to see it in action). This was impressive 25 years ago. Can you imagine what they can discern now? Probably not... ignorance is bliss I say ;-)

    I'd like to know what they can discern and I'd like to have a say in what that profile looks like. Without that I'd favor much stronger privacy protections.

    I imagine you might also be more focused on the "here and now", while I'm more focused on the future. I'd agree with you that Google so far has done a very good job at keeping their descriptions of who we are tightly locked up and safe. In contrast to tgp (and maybe you?) I see absolutely no chance of things staying that way. If not unintentionally, it will eventually be made accessible to some in the interest of profitability. At that point it will just be impossible to put the lid back on the box.
    Last edited by a5cent; 11-13-2017 at 07:26 PM. Reason: slight clarification
    11-13-2017 07:11 PM
  23. TgeekB's Avatar
    Here’s another one.
    Apple seems to have (perhaps) perfected facial recognition to unlock devices. Doesn’t this mean they are collecting the actual live faces of millions of humans? So does the government, for drivers licenses. Large corporations do for security badges. But Apple sells phones and computers. Should we worry? Does it matter? Again, interesting.
    11-13-2017 07:19 PM
  24. nate0's Avatar
    Here’s another one.
    Apple seems to have (perhaps) perfected facial recognition to unlock devices. Doesn’t this mean they are collecting the actual live faces of millions of humans? So does the government, for drivers licenses. Large corporations do for security badges. But Apple sells phones and computers. Should we worry? Does it matter? Again, interesting.
    It's your choice if you decide if it matters or not...
    11-13-2017 07:26 PM
  25. TgeekB's Avatar
    It's your choice if you decide if it matters or not...
    Oh, of course. I was just interested in others opinions.

    To me, you can’t escape the modern world so I don’t worry too much about it. I think it’s up to us to be smart and protect what we want the best we can while enjoying the fruits of modern technology.
    libra89 and Wolfjt like this.
    11-13-2017 07:29 PM
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