Recently, we published an article here on LiquidVPN, that talked about how you are being tracked online- and how to cover your tracks. And your phone is no different. Before you use virtually any app you have to agree to terms of service (TOS) that most users, like on PCs and laptops, just click through.
But when you download an app, what are you agreeing to? Nowadays, 82% of time spent using media on our phones it is through an app.
The NSA and GCHQ have even gotten in on the act. By using Angry Birds, an app that has been downloaded more than 2 Billion times, the Brits and Americans are able to discover the age, sex, location, even political alignment, and infer sexual orientation of its users.
So here are a few apps of a different variety; privacy apps that will allow you to remain more anonymous while using your mobile phone.
App Ops- An incredibly useful tool that breaks up the long list of all-or-nothing permissions that are prevalent in apps. This privacy app allows you to turn off specific permissions for each app. This means that you can turn off the GPS access to Fruit Ninja, or unique phone identity in any number of apps. Basically hampering any third party advertising or tracking. However, google closed the door on this app in KitKat/ 4.4.2. Any previous versions can still access it, but subsequent versions will have to be rooted to download the app. Google claims they did this because the app is not end-user friendly- it may break the apps. But the truth is that they don’t like it effecting their advertising.
TextSecure- For those of you worried about your texts being truly private, TextSecure is the solution. In contrast to other text encryption apps available in the Google Store, TextSecure differs because it does not require the use of both users to be effective- although it is more effective if this is the case. This privacy app is free, open source, and provides for end-end encryption. It also works with your standard texting app on your phone.
avast! Mobile Security and Antivirus– This privacy app will not let you actually adjust any settings as far as privacy goes. But it will list the permissions for you. Each app on your phone gets its own entry with a list of permissions and a short description of how those permissions are being used. This is an easy way to see which apps that you already have installed are pushing the limits of your privacy. As the name suggests it is also boasts a powerful antivirus software, and remote wiping in the event of a lost or stolen phone.
Disconnect.me– After being pulled from the play store, the app’s developers- including some former Google employees- filed a complaint with the European Commission, adding to Google’s trouble there. The reason for pulling the app is that it is remarkably good at preventing third party tracking. Emerging from Facebook Disconnect this app now monitors, and can block 2,000 websites from collecting data. Like App Ops, since it has been pulled from the store you will need to root your phone to access.
Regrettably, due to the money complex, Google does not allow users to easily alter privacy permissions on apps. Google make’s their money off of advertising, and have a reputation to protect. But with just a little determination you can put a hold on your sensitive information from being collected.
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