Privacy and smartphones: Purism Origin Story

Hi everyone, Like all of you (I hope!) I'm very concerned with the possibility that large companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (GAFAM), as well as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi (BATX) are gathering a huge amount of data about me and my family without being clear about what they're using that information for and who they're sharing it with.

Privacy and smartphones: Purism Origin Story

madbilly madbilly
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Hi everyone,

Like all of you (I hope!) I'm very concerned with the possibility that large companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (GAFAM), as well as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi (BATX) are gathering a huge amount of data about me and my family without being clear about what they're using that information for and who they're sharing it with. I am always looking for ways to reduce my digital footprint and reduce chances for organisations and people to gather and aggregate data about me.

This poses me with a problem when it comes to HMD's Nokia Phones - they're obviously full of Google! I can't escape it and I don't know fully what information about me is being gathered by Google (nor HMD, Evenwell, FIH etc). I have done as much as I practically can within the constraints of the OS to limit my data sharing whilst still having a usable smartphone, but it's still very difficult to know what is still leaking out.

One of the projects I follow with interest is the Puri.sm Librem 5 https://puri.sm/products/librem-5/. I haven't pre-ordered one and don't have any financial interest in the project, but I strongly hope they succeed as it will show that consumers want an alternative to the privacy-breaching data economy. This blog post by their founder really chimed with me and my own reasons for being interested in and following the progress of alternatives to the "big tech" options out there because the point at which I became more interested in the topic was the date my first child was born! https://puri.sm/posts/purism-origin-story/

I would be very interested to know what HMD's leaders and staff think about this. Do we have anything to worry about from HMD's Nokia phones? Would they be happy for their own children to use them?

What do you think?

Cheers :)

Comments

  • jbelo jbelo
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    I have the same concerms than you. There is a very insteresting article in a Spanish newspaper about this problem in Android ecosystem The problem is not only with the company is with the OS itself. A full report will be publised on April 1st done by several univerities

  • madbilly madbilly
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    @jbelo that's very interesting, thanks for sharing! I look forward to the full report.
  • user389 user389
    ✭✭✭  /  edited March 21
    News media and authorities can't get straight answers from HMD regarding privacy issues, sadly. The Finnish consumer ombudsman is on a specific case:
    https://nrkbeta.no/2019/03/21/norske-telefoner-sendte-personopplysninger-til-kina/
    It's in my opinion a big mistake to not have proper in-house quality procedures when dealing with subcontractors who hire new workers each morning at the lowest possible cost.

    Phones other than Android and iPhone don't have the apps people expect. It's the same dilemma as Windows Phone, at least until the next version of www is ready.
    It's very convenient to have apps for online banking, payments, authentication etc on a mobile device...

    -- 
    Hans
  • madbilly madbilly
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    @user389 Ouch! That's not good to read. I presume this person found this out using WireShark or something similar. I wonder if it's the same for the Nokia 8...?
  • TomD TomD
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    madbilly said:
    @user389 Ouch! That's not good to read. I presume this person found this out using WireShark or something similar. I wonder if it's the same for the Nokia 8...?
    I'm currently testing my Nokia 8.1 and I've found no sign of the issue yet. I'm using Wireshark and I suggest everyone checks their phone on another device.
  • madbilly madbilly
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    Ideally run wireshark on a rooted device: I would run it on a Windows or Linux machine, I'm sure MacOS would also be fine.
  • user389 user389
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    I guess Nokia Networks and Ericsson want a European based mobile devices manufacturer who is able to develop, manufacture and maintain mobile phones for serious business use.
    I hope HMD have borrowed a team from Nokia to sort out what exactly is going on in the engine room of the current Nokia branded phones (and hope this is the reason updates are delayed).
    Only @jumble knows what is actually going on.
    Both Nokia 6 and 8 have (different) unresolved issues caused by updates that are more annoying in everyday use than the privacy concerns.
    Nokia 8 was a worthy replacement for my N8-00 a year ago but not now.
    --
    Hans
  • madbilly madbilly
    ✭✭✭✭✭  /  edited March 24
    @user389 I can only select one reaction, but I loled and agreed! :D.

    I think you're probably right about Nokia and Ericsson wanting a strong European smartphone vendor, but it's probably not what keeps them awake at night (that's called Huawei!). The fact that HMD are a European company therefore much more subject to (and at risk of) the GDPR does give me some comfort, but the state of their software does not - that's a nice idea about HMD calling in Nokia's QA team, Nokia certainly have an interest in maintaining brand reputation.

    For the 8, I'm glad I'm still on Android 8.1.

    Thanks to @Jumble there are no rodents at HMD towers; if only Jumble also liked bugs!
  • user389 user389
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    The phone for serious business use = iPhone also at Huawei ...
    - It's embarrassing that I can't recommend the phone brand I use for more than a kid's toy.
    --
    Hans
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