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OESF Portables Forum _ Gemini PDA - Android _ [GUIDE] How to remove ALL spyware from Gemini! (Google, MTK)

Posted by: NCI Aug 8 2018, 02:47 PM

Since there is no guide for it, just scattered pieces here and there - let's make one. I'll try it out on my Gemini, and convert this post to one complete, detailed, newbie-friendly guide covering the process from the very beginning till the very end, so that new Gemini users seeking privacy won't need to suffer. Looking forward to suggestions, and/or tried&tested links.

After wasting a few days, done.

ROOTING YOUR DEVICE AND ALLOWING APP INSTALLATION FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES MAY HAVE NEGATIVE SECURITY IMPLICATIONS.
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND WHY BEFORE FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE.


1. Install flashing tools & backup NVRAM - follow the official guide http://support.planetcom.co.uk/index.php/Android_Flashing_Guide

2. Download rooted Android firmware (& Linux/Sailfish if you want) and appropriate scatter file after specifying your model and partitioning from http://support.planetcom.co.uk/partitionTool.html
* You need both the scattered file and the firmware, using firmware downloaded in the first step won't do.

3. Flash rooted firmware with appropriate scatter file to the device. Take a look at the guide again http://support.planetcom.co.uk/index.php/Android_Flashing_Guide
* You need to put scatter file in folder with rooted firmware
* Restart your Gemini by holding Fn+Esc and selecting Restart after setting everything up and connecting it to computer

4. Initial setup
4.0 Rush through initial setup
4.1 Settings -> Security -> Unknown sources - turn on
4.2 Download and install F-Droid - open-source software repository client from https://f-droid.org/
4.3 Download and install Yalp Store from F-Droid - alternative Play Store client
* Don't forget to configure permissions for these and all the other apps which you will install!!!

5. Install Magisk Manager https://forum.xda-developers.com/apps/magisk/official-magisk-v7-universal-systemless-t3473445
* It is required to handle superuser requests.

6. TWRP recovery
6.1 Download and install Official TWRP App from Yalp Store
6.2 Choose Gemini PDA and install TWRP recovery
6.3. Restart, hold Esc key while booting until you're in TWRP
6.4. Backup -> Swipe to Backup
6.5. Reboot when finished

7. Remove unnecessary apps
7.1. Security -> Device Administrators -> Find My Device -> Deactivate device administrator
7.2. Apps -> System -> Google Play Services -> Force stop & disable
7.3. Downloaded & install Titanium Backup Pro
* you'll need full version, free won't do. if you have it purchased, Yalp Store can use your account instead of generic; otherwise, it's easy to find pirated version, but I can't post links here.
7.3. Freeze, then remove Duraspeed
7.4. Freeze MTKlogger and Network Location
7.5. Remove Google apps from the list below

8. Download & install open-source location services from F-Droid
8.1. Unified Nlp (No GAPPS)
8.2. MozillaNlpBackend
8.3. NominatimNlpBackend
8.4. GSM Location Service
8.5. WiFi Location Service
8.6. Configure permissions for all apps above
8.7. Setup UnifiedNlp
8.8. Reboot, check UnifiedNlp after rebot

9. Congratulations, you have a fully functional Gemini PDA without Google or MTK spyware!

* Google apps list
Chrome
Drive
Duo
Gmail
Google *
Hangouts
Keep
Maps
Market Feedback Provider
Photos
Youtube

This guide is not perfect and reflects my personal experience messing with all this for the last two days. I did everything described for the first time in my life so my approach may be not the best, so feel free to offer better solutions - I'll be happy to improve the guide.

Posted by: graynada Aug 8 2018, 06:50 PM

First I think you will have to define by what you personally class as 'spyware' For example there was some post floating around a while ago talking about MTK 'spyware' that turned out to be referring to a logger recording system events. There was no indication that this was being used in any unknown way or being uploaded anywhere and this kind of logging has very legitimate uses for software development and crash reporting. So is that spyware? not in my opinion but in many others it is.

Then there is Google. By using a Google operating system you kind of expect Google to have to have some information about you. Imagine trying to buy something online and telling the shop they couldn't have you address or know what you wanted to buy, but you expected it to be delivered all the same. What Google wants to know about you is all contained in their terms and conditions which we agree to at set up. We can't expect to use their 'free' operating system without them having a business model that enables them to deliver that in some way. We can adjust, limit and prevent some stuff but some information has to be exchanged for the system to work. As we have agreed to this in my opioon this cannot be considered 'spyware' as to me spyware is something outside of my control.

So I think it would be useful to define your aims and bounds. Are you going full tinfoil hat parinoia? in which case mobile devices and the Internet are probably not places for you (as well as MTK, Google et Al you need to think about your ISP, mobile carrier, government agencies blah blah blah) or do you truly mean actual spyware? in which case limit which apps can send data to those that you trust, job done 👍

Posted by: jerome Aug 8 2018, 10:59 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 02:50 AM) *
Then there is Google. By using a Google operating system you kind of expect Google to have to have some information about you. Imagine trying to buy something online and telling the shop they couldn't have you address or know what you wanted to buy, but you expected it to be delivered all the same. What Google wants to know about you is all contained in their terms and conditions which we agree to at set up. We can't expect to use their 'free' operating system without them having a business model that enables them to deliver that in some way. We can adjust, limit and prevent some stuff but some information has to be exchanged for the system to work. As we have agreed to this in my opioon this cannot be considered 'spyware' as to me spyware is something outside of my control.


Android forks like lineage os make it possible to use an android device without google libraries, without a google account and without agreeing to their terms and conditions. I think that the O.P. had something similar in mind.

Posted by: graynada Aug 8 2018, 11:35 PM

QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 9 2018, 07:59 AM) *
QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 02:50 AM) *
Then there is Google. By using a Google operating system you kind of expect Google to have to have some information about you. Imagine trying to buy something online and telling the shop they couldn't have you address or know what you wanted to buy, but you expected it to be delivered all the same. What Google wants to know about you is all contained in their terms and conditions which we agree to at set up. We can't expect to use their 'free' operating system without them having a business model that enables them to deliver that in some way. We can adjust, limit and prevent some stuff but some information has to be exchanged for the system to work. As we have agreed to this in my opioon this cannot be considered 'spyware' as to me spyware is something outside of my control.


Android forks like lineage os make it possible to use an android device without google libraries, without a google account and without agreeing to their terms and conditions. I think that the O.P. had something similar in mind.


Probably, but I don't class that a spy ware, hence the question define the aim... And why pick on Google? You have to agree to your ISP and carriers T&Cs so what makes those so agreeable over Google's?

Posted by: NCI Aug 9 2018, 03:40 AM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 8 2018, 06:50 PM) *
First I think you will have to define by what you personally class as 'spyware' For example there was some post floating around a while ago talking about MTK 'spyware' that turned out to be referring to a logger recording system events. There was no indication that this was being used in any unknown way or being uploaded anywhere and this kind of logging has very legitimate uses for software development and crash reporting. So is that spyware? not in my opinion but in many others it is.

Then there is Google. By using a Google operating system you kind of expect Google to have to have some information about you. Imagine trying to buy something online and telling the shop they couldn't have you address or know what you wanted to buy, but you expected it to be delivered all the same. What Google wants to know about you is all contained in their terms and conditions which we agree to at set up. We can't expect to use their 'free' operating system without them having a business model that enables them to deliver that in some way. We can adjust, limit and prevent some stuff but some information has to be exchanged for the system to work. As we have agreed to this in my opioon this cannot be considered 'spyware' as to me spyware is something outside of my control.

So I think it would be useful to define your aims and bounds. Are you going full tinfoil hat parinoia? in which case mobile devices and the Internet are probably not places for you (as well as MTK, Google et Al you need to think about your ISP, mobile carrier, government agencies blah blah blah) or do you truly mean actual spyware? in which case limit which apps can send data to those that you trust, job done ��

The problem is more with the fact that not only is data collected, but it ain't properly secured and can be leaked to third parties. I generally may put my trust in Google - but I don't trust their security procedures, and if they are compromised - given how much they collect about a person, it may have disastrous consequences in real life.
* (MTK) Duraspeed - sents info about apps used (for the purposes of optimization, supposedly) - I don't use it, I don't want the data about the apps I use to be shared with anyone.
* MTKLogger - still researching this one.

As for other stuff you mentioned:
* ISP - I have decent VPN which I trust, for years, and appropriately setup OS'es with firewalls preventing any sensitive data outside the tunnel - be it Windows 10 (with all telemetry disabled and no MS account), Android (in the form of LineageOS up until now) or Linux.
* Mobile carrier - one can always purchase a SIM card bound to another person. This is MTK phone, so I assume I can just put zeroes in IMEI without bricking and call it a day, no?
* Government agencies - well, I currently live in a anti-democratic shithole where people literally go to jail for writing something that government doesn't like on the Internet or saying on other media, even if it was published years before the law against it was approved and thus was legal at the time - so you can guess the picture and my attitude.
* Websites also track you, and not only by IP - by browser fingerprint as well, including device charge level, screen resolution, etc. But it can also be countered, with extensions like NoScript, Privacy Badger, etc. - and ad-blockers also help in this regard.

Bottom line - not full-on tin-hat mode, just some compromise between privacy&security and ease of use.
QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 8 2018, 10:59 PM) *
Android forks like lineage os make it possible to use an android device without google libraries, without a google account and without agreeing to their terms and conditions. I think that the O.P. had something similar in mind.

All my smartphones before were either LineageOS/CyanogenMod, or Linux(Maemo). Sadly LineageOS for Gemini is in poor condition, so no-go.

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 8 2018, 11:35 PM) *
Probably, but I don't class that a spy ware, hence the question define the aim... And why pick on Google? You have to agree to your ISP and carriers T&Cs so what makes those so agreeable over Google's?

On this smartphone, they are easier to counter than Google.

Posted by: graynada Aug 9 2018, 03:56 AM

QUOTE
The problem is more with the fact that not only is data collected, but it ain't properly secured and can be leaked to third parties. I generally may put my trust in Google - but I don't trust their security procedures, and if they are compromised - given how much they collect about a person, it may have disastrous consequences in real life.


Fortunately we have data protection laws in this country that mean that Google and everyone else has to protect any personal information they are entrusted with. We have just had these laws tightened and I would expect that by Google's compliance with these laws you in another country are benefiting from it.

QUOTE
ISP - I have decent VPN which I trust, for years, and appropriately setup OS'es with firewalls preventing any sensitive data outside the tunnel


But you have signed a contract with them. Given them your home address, email, maybe even telephone number, date of birth and bank account details to enable payment. This is all information you must entrust them to protect but you don't entrust Google? I find this selective approach confusing.

My question remains. What is the aim of your thread? Complete anonymity from everything and everyone? (tinfoil hat) in which case you have failed by registering with Indegogo to buy a Gemini! Or the removal of actual spyware ie real deliberately malicious underhanded software?

Posted by: NCI Aug 9 2018, 05:03 AM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 03:56 AM) *
Fortunately we have data protection laws in this country that mean that Google and everyone else has to protect any personal information they are entrusted with. We have just had these laws tightened and I would expect that by Google's compliance with these laws you in another country are benefiting from it.

Laws don't protect you from human errors or ignorance. Google draws their profits from selling user data to advertisers, not storing user data in secure way. Meaning, e.g. providing decent search results or quality voice assistant is way up on their priority list, while keeping the user data well secured somewhere on the bottom. Moreover that, Google&Apple have monopolized mobile OS market. There simply are no viable alternatives - even more restricted Windows Mobile is dead, and Sailfish is not mature enough.

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 03:56 AM) *
But you have signed a contract with them. Given them your home address, email, maybe even telephone number, date of birth and bank account details to enable payment. This is all information you must entrust them to protect but you don't entrust Google? I find this selective approach confusing.

My question remains. What is the aim of your thread? Complete anonymity from everything and everyone? (tinfoil hat) in which case you have failed by registering with Indegogo to buy a Gemini! Or the removal of actual spyware ie real deliberately malicious underhanded software?

Does anybody provide banking information to ISP, really? They know much less about you or me than Google - because they don't collect behavior patterns, even if they're able to analyze your traffic (not mine). But Google goes well beyond that, it has access to everything, and does not provide an option to use their services without participating in data collection.

MTKLogger can be exploited to access user browsing history, location, etc. It is insecure by design and does not provide end user any benefit. I call it spyware, no matter the fact that it comes from chipset manufacturer. As with Google services - I don't want them transmitting anything of my use patterns without my deliberate agreement, but here they are preinstalled on the device and I can't opt out without applying drastic measures like rooting and uninstalling with third-party software - so for me, they're exactly spyware.

By the way, MTKLogger is the only thing mentioned in this thread that I wasn't able to purge from my Gemini so far - Duraspeed and everything Google are gone.

Posted by: graynada Aug 9 2018, 05:40 AM

I think you have answered my question. It' is not just true spyware you want to get rid of but all data collection including legitimate and agreed to data collection but only by specific companies. I wonder what you use the Internet for if you won't agree to any terms and conditions that include holding data about you. No online shopping, no social networking, presumably no phone calls or SMS and of course no online forums...... But wait blink.gif wink.gif rolleyes.gif laugh.gif

And yes of course my ISP has my bank details so they can get there monthly fee by direct debt. Saves me queuing up each month hidden from CCTV cameras with my foil lined hood on to pay cash in random bank notes carefully collected from various outlets (no cash points please, they might know what you are up to) to settle my bill!

Posted by: NCI Aug 9 2018, 05:47 AM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 05:40 AM) *
I think you have answered my question. It' is not just true spyware you want to get rid of but all data collection including legitimate and agreed to data collection but only by specific companies. I wonder what you use the Internet for if you won't agree to any terms and conditions that include holding data about you. No online shopping, no social networking, presumably no phone calls or SMS and of course no online forums...... But wait blink.gif wink.gif rolleyes.gif laugh.gif

And yes of course my ISP has my bank details so they can get there monthly fee by direct debt. Saves me queuing up each month hidden from CCTV cameras with my foil lined hood on to pay cash in random bank notes carefully collected from various outlets (no cash points please, they might know what you are up to) to settle my bill!

You clearly are not interested in the subject of this thread and came to troll about tin foil hats. The fact that you don't deal with sensitive data and potential exploit or backdoor on your smartphone is the least of your concerns does not in any way diminish your ignorance towards needs of other people who do, or justify such behavior on forum of device enthusiasts. Well, good job, have a nice day, and finally gtfo this thread.

Posted by: jakfish Aug 9 2018, 05:52 AM

While I appreciate and admire people's struggle to keep their privacy, I don't believe their efforts are any more successful than my own common sense (a. don't say anything on the internet that you wouldn't say to someone's face b. make certain your financial institutions will back you up in case of fraud).

I truly believe that Alexander Graham Bell's second invention was to monitor activity on his first, and every subsequent advent in communication has done the same.

I don't do porn, I'm faithful to my wife, I buy apps rather than crack them, making me very boring and I'm sure google, my Verizon ISP, and T-Mobile know everything about me, just as they know everything about everybody else.

My jaunty cynicism aside, NCI's statement about "Government agencies - well, I currently live in a anti-democratic shithole where people literally go to jail for writing something that government doesn't like on the Internet or saying on other media, even if it was published years before the law against it was approved and thus was legal at the time" is obviously the paramount concern with regard to both privacy and life in general.

If your government is jailing folks for disagreeing, then a. be very careful and b. get the hell out of said country. Because LineageOS or whatever other safety measure will not subvert fascism. They know as much about you as they know about me.

As they used to say in Russia, "These days, a man says what's on his mind only to his wife, under the covers."

Posted by: jakfish Aug 9 2018, 05:56 AM

I also take serious umbrage at NCI's attack on graynada. Graynada is a key member of this community and he has developed and contributed vital apps to the Gemini platform.

He is thoughtful, helpful, and is no troll, and in this thread, he presents every one of those qualities.

Jake

Posted by: bloblo Aug 9 2018, 07:57 AM

QUOTE(jakfish @ Aug 9 2018, 05:56 AM) *
He is thoughtful, helpful, and is no troll,

Well, answering "but you shouldn't mind data collection" to "how can I turn off data collection" may not be the most productive answer. Anyway, on topic, I think LineageOS works largely without it, so maybe just put LineageOS without GAPPS on your Gemini? I think there's a custom build available, although I don't know how well it works. Getting rid of everything in the stock ROM is probably not very practical, since that's not intended by Google for the reasons hinted at above, no matter if you hate that or not, or consider that spyware or not.

Posted by: jakfish Aug 9 2018, 08:28 AM

Fair enough, on topic, I pay 15usd yearly to Kaspersky Mobile. The app appears to work very hard, gives the device a clean bill of health, and the fact that it's Russian-made software is not lost on my American sense of irony.

Jake

Posted by: NCI Aug 9 2018, 09:16 AM

QUOTE(bloblo @ Aug 9 2018, 07:57 AM) *
Anyway, on topic, I think LineageOS works largely without it, so maybe just put LineageOS without GAPPS on your Gemini? I think there's a custom build available, although I don't know how well it works. Getting rid of everything in the stock ROM is probably not very practical, since that's not intended by Google for the reasons hinted at above, no matter if you hate that or not, or consider that spyware or not.

LineageOS for Gemini sadly has broken telephony and looks abandoned.

I managed to add open-source location services to my Gemini. However, I can't find a satisfying launcher. Stock launcher is actually OK - but it has impossible to remove searchbar, and seemingly prevents installation of non-GSP version of same launcher. Lack of settings, however, is depressing; I can't even turn on battery percentage in status area. Guess I'll give Sailfish a try.

Posted by: rubus-3.142 Aug 9 2018, 12:53 PM

QUOTE(jakfish @ Aug 9 2018, 02:52 PM) *
I don't do porn, I'm faithful to my wife,

Me and the husband watched it together, under the covers - but I am I'm sure someone somewhere knows. perhaps because he refused to wear a tin foil hat?

But seriously why do these threads relating to Google apps seem to morph into the rights and wrongs of Google?

Posted by: jakfish Aug 9 2018, 01:31 PM

>>Me and the husband watched it together, under the covers<<

An ALMOST wise decision--even better is to stay off-line and do the porn yourselves smile.gif

But of course, your point is valid. Google vs non-Google, privacy vs fatalism, it all gets very philosophical right away, and angrily so.

But hats off to NCI: s/he has rewritten the original post to include compelling instructions. The process operates on the assumption that the available Gemini root install is non-spurious, and we wish the same for our hardware, but NCI's step-by-step sounds more secure than anything I'm doing.

Posted by: NCI Aug 9 2018, 01:44 PM

QUOTE(rubus-3.142 @ Aug 9 2018, 12:53 PM) *
But seriously why do these threads relating to Google apps seem to morph into the rights and wrongs of Google?

I have to admit Google are actually great at what they do. They do have the best search engine, best video sharing platform, a somewhat lacking but still most popular mobile OS which gets better and better every update, etc. etc. It is the fact their services are shoved down people's throats in a deliberate manner regardless of their opinion what causes the problem.

Posted by: graynada Aug 9 2018, 03:03 PM

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 02:47 PM) *
QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 05:40 AM) *
I think you have answered my question. It' is not just true spyware you want to get rid of but all data collection including legitimate and agreed to data collection but only by specific companies. I wonder what you use the Internet for if you won't agree to any terms and conditions that include holding data about you. No online shopping, no social networking, presumably no phone calls or SMS and of course no online forums...... But wait blink.gif wink.gif rolleyes.gif laugh.gif

And yes of course my ISP has my bank details so they can get there monthly fee by direct debt. Saves me queuing up each month hidden from CCTV cameras with my foil lined hood on to pay cash in random bank notes carefully collected from various outlets (no cash points please, they might know what you are up to) to settle my bill!

You clearly are not interested in the subject of this thread and came to troll about tin foil hats. The fact that you don't deal with sensitive data and potential exploit or backdoor on your smartphone is the least of your concerns does not in any way diminish your ignorance towards needs of other people who do, or justify such behavior on forum of device enthusiasts. Well, good job, have a nice day, and finally gtfo this thread.


I am no troll, I would suggest your thread trolls Google and MTK. I have tried very hard to understand what it is you are trying to achieve and having read your guide I can see. What I challenge is the title of your thread as what you are doing is removing Google and MTK (omly) data collection not 'spyware' so please consider addressing that. Secondly your first steps include rooting and allowing untrusted sources. These are 2 steps which are considered by pretty much every security expert to leave you more vulnerable to real spyware and attack from extremely harmful parties. Please be responsible and add a warning to your guide accordingly.

You have of course aright to remove Google apps from your device if you choose to do so but to present this as improving security while actually deminishing security is I believe wrong. I do not know personally of anyone who has come to any harm, physically, financially or perceived from Google's legitimate data collection and usage business model. Most harm online comes from social engineering, phishing and the like. Your approach would appear to make it easier to fall foul of such activities. Please engoy your Google free experience on your Android device (!) but please consider correcting it as I have suggested.

And finally please keep a civil tone. Thanks

Posted by: depscribe Aug 9 2018, 03:54 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 03:03 PM) *
I am no troll, I would suggest your thread trolls Google and MTK. I have tried very hard to understand what it is you are trying to achieve and having read your guide I can see. What I challenge is the title of your thread as what you are doing is removing Google and MTK (omly) data collection not 'spyware' so please consider addressing that.

Not to disparage your spirited defense of data harvesters, but applications that harvest our data, seems to me, are the very definition of spyware.

Posted by: NCI Aug 9 2018, 04:56 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 03:03 PM) *
I am no troll, I would suggest your thread trolls Google and MTK.
What I challenge is the title of your thread as what you are doing is removing Google and MTK (omly) data collection not 'spyware' so please consider addressing that.

Oh I can totally trust this company with my data, yes? https://www.cnet.com/news/googles-gmail-controversy-is-everything-wrong-with-silicon-valley/
And having this shit on my smartphone is definitely the last thing I want https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2016-10135

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 03:03 PM) *
Secondly your first steps include rooting and allowing untrusted sources. These are 2 steps which are considered by pretty much every security expert to leave you more vulnerable to real spyware and attack from extremely harmful parties.

https://thenextweb.com/hardfork/2018/04/20/google-play-cryptocurrency-apps-malware/
https://www.wired.com/story/google-play-store-malware/
https://www.tomsguide.com/us/android-antivirus-av-test,news-26648.html
Also, good luck having a firewall on Android without root.


Posted by: Murple2 Aug 9 2018, 11:47 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 9 2018, 03:03 PM) *
Secondly your first steps include rooting and allowing untrusted sources. These are 2 steps which are considered by pretty much every security expert to leave you more vulnerable to real spyware and attack from extremely harmful parties.


Seconded. Rooting your device has potential serious security implications. If you understand the risks, and can mitigate them by sensible practice then fine. But I wouldn't recommend it to people who don't consider themselves tech savvy, and certainly not for the sole purpose of making your device 'secure'. Yes it may allow you to remove some of the more fundamental bundled software (or 'malware' depending on your POV), but you are far more vulnerable to malware in the wild. If you are unlucky enough to install an infected app or navigate to a malicious webpage, you have effectively given criminals root access to your phone. Game over man.

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 01:56 AM) *
https://thenextweb.com/hardfork/2018/04/20/google-play-cryptocurrency-apps-malware/
https://www.wired.com/story/google-play-store-malware/
https://www.tomsguide.com/us/android-antivirus-av-test,news-26648.html
Also, good luck having a firewall on Android without root.


These articles do not suggest you should allow untrusted sources. I took away the following - 1) be careful which apps you use to manage your cryptowallet (obvious) 2) don't install apps with names like "Earn Real Money Gift Cards" and "Bubble Shooter Wild Life," 3) only install what you need and trust. Which, incidentally, is why I would rather trust an app from Google than some company/developer I have never heard of.

Final edit: please consider changing the name of this thread to 'Guide to removing Google and MTK "spyware".. And I know this has been done to death now but really the MTK stuff isn't spyware. It is not secure because other apps can sniff the logs it creates (although it doesn't, as the logging behaviour is switched off by default)

Now can we finally get to the main issue - how do we remove all the backdoors from the firmware blobs?! Oh wait, we can't

Posted by: graynada Aug 10 2018, 12:29 AM

QUOTE
Not to disparage your spirited defense of data harvesters, but applications that harvest our data, seems to me, are the very definition of spyware


Only if they do it without your knowledge. I you have agreed within the terms and conditions and the company is upfront about what it is doing then that is not spyware. It is when it is happening without your knowledge, and you seem extremely aware of everything Google are doing, that it is spyware.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spyware

QED

Posted by: Eldkatten Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM

Hello,

thank you for this nice guide. I ask myself for instance, why there is still mobile data usage from Google apps though I switched it all off. Obviously Google (and maybe others) use backdoors and direct access to hardware resources (that's why my firewall obviously isn't able to block all network access), and worst of all, Google is ignoring the expressed will of the user. Yes, of course I "signed up" for this and sold my soul to Google and yadayadayada, but what are the - usable! - alternatives? "Trust" in a monopolist seems to me very naive.

So I try to pry my device, which I certainly own and I have paid for, not Google, out of Google's hands as good as I can. You, who trust Google with your life, can do whatever you want, but I am not discussing my attitude in this matter.

Anyway, back to the guide. I have some questions:

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 12:47 AM) *
6.1 Download and install Official TWRP App from Yalp Store

What do I need TRWP for?

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 12:47 AM) *
6.4. Backup -> Swipe to Backup

What does this mean? Is this to make a backup of the entire device in case anything goes wrong?

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 12:47 AM) *
7.4. Freeze MTKlogger and Network Location

I seem not to have MTKlogger and Network Location on my device. I did the whole rooting thing already earlier, though. Maybe I already removed it? Can't remember. Where exactly would I find those Apps?

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 12:47 AM) *
8. Download & install open-source location services from F-Droid
8.1. Unified Nlp (No GAPPS)
8.2. MozillaNlpBackend
8.3. NominatimNlpBackend
8.4. GSM Location Service
8.5. WiFi Location Service
8.6. Configure permissions for all apps above
8.7. Setup UnifiedNlp
8.8. Reboot, check UnifiedNlp after rebot

What exactly do I need this for? Is this for determining my location with GSM and WiFi (like GPS), or is it to locate available GSM and WiFi networks? What if I skip this step?

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 12:47 AM) *
* Google apps list
(...)
Google *
(...)

Maybe the most stupid question: Why is there an asterisk behind "Google"?

And one general question: do apps - those I installed through the 'Playstore' (I allways wondered how serious or actually childish an OS is the software repository of which has such a stupid name) and those I download as an Apk file - rely on the presence of "Google services", "Google Playstore", "Google account manager" or any other Google stuff? Do I have to expect apps to stop working once I remove all "Google" parts? That would be especially annoying if it concerns apps I payed for, but of course all other apps as well. If I wouldn't miss it, I wouldn't have installed it in the first place.

Thank you and kind regards

Posted by: Eldkatten Aug 10 2018, 05:17 AM

Hello,

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 9 2018, 12:47 AM) *
6.2 Choose Gemini PDA and install TWRP recovery

Restarting after recovery flashing with ESC key held takes me into a boot loop sad.gif Fortunately the system starts normally when I release the ESC key. Great unsure.gif

Kind regards

Posted by: NCI Aug 10 2018, 06:24 AM

QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
What do I need TRWP for?
What does this mean? Is this to make a backup of the entire device in case anything goes wrong?

TWRP is a custom recovery which allows making system backup. You might want to create backups in the process when removing extra apps, you may not like the end result or remove wrong app by mistake.
QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
Restarting after recovery flashing with ESC key held takes me into a boot loop

Try reinstalling it in TWRP app, maybe something went wrong. Do you have X27, X25 or WiFi only model?
QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
I seem not to have MTKlogger and Network Location on my device. I did the whole rooting thing already earlier, though. Maybe I already removed it? Can't remember. Where exactly would I find those Apps?

These are system apps, check System -> Apps -> System for them.
QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
What exactly do I need this for? Is this for determining my location with GSM and WiFi (like GPS), or is it to locate available GSM and WiFi networks? What if I skip this step?

You might want it to have working location functionality. These backends are open-source and don't spy on you; partricularly, GSM&WiFi apps use GSM and WiFi data in a manner Google does, but keep local databases on your device, without reporting anywhere.
QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
Maybe the most stupid question: Why is there an asterisk behind "Google"?

Google * = every app named Google-something.
QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
And one general question: do apps - those I installed through the 'Playstore' (I allways wondered how serious or actually childish an OS is the software repository of which has such a stupid name) and those I download as an Apk file - rely on the presence of "Google services", "Google Playstore", "Google account manager" or any other Google stuff? Do I have to expect apps to stop working once I remove all "Google" parts? That would be especially annoying if it concerns apps I payed for, but of course all other apps as well. If I wouldn't miss it, I wouldn't have installed it in the first place.

I would not recommend downloading APKs directly unless you're pirating something from a very trusted source - there's Yalp store for that. Some apps report that they're relying on GSF (Google Services Framework) but most or all functions work correctly without it, while others will misbehave.
QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 04:27 AM) *
Thank you and kind regards

You're welcome! Hope you'll achieve your goals!

p.s. I personally am currently experimenting with keeping the google apps installed (most of them disabled) and routing Google traffic through interface directly while routing browser and messenger traffic through VPN, with properly setup browser of course - because there is no way to make voice recognition work without some Google stuff, even Saiy (FOSS voice assistant) relies on Google engine for speech recognition, sadly there's simply no working alternative.

Posted by: Eldkatten Aug 10 2018, 08:23 AM

Wow, thank you for that elaborate answer biggrin.gif

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
TWRP is a custom recovery which allows making system backup. You might want to create backups in the process when removing extra apps, you may not like the end result or remove wrong app by mistake.

Ok, that's what I thought.

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
Try reinstalling it in TWRP app, maybe something went wrong. Do you have X27, X25 or WiFi only model?

I tried three times, alas. I have an X27 device, and I used the latest image.
Since I rendered a tablet bricked and useless by trying to flash a custom recovery, I think I keep my hands off this, as long as my Gemini is still working.

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
These are system apps, check System -> Apps -> System for them.

Ah, there they are. And many more ohmy.gif I am able to force stop them, but can't remove or deactivate them. The button is greyed out.

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
You might want it to have working location functionality. These backends are open-source and don't spy on you; partricularly, GSM&WiFi apps use GSM and WiFi data in a manner Google does, but keep local databases on your device, without reporting anywhere.

Thanks for the explanation, I don't need these.

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
Google * = every app named Google-something.

Of course, a wildcard, how stupid of me wink.gif

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
I would not recommend downloading APKs directly unless you're pirating something from a very trusted source

You're right, of course, and the few Apks I used are all from trusted sources.

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 10 2018, 04:24 PM) *
Some apps report that they're relying on GSF (Google Services Framework) but most or all functions work correctly without it, while others will misbehave.

Yes, I experienced that. Most apps don't complain at all, a few ones complain but work never the less, and very few complain and really don't work:
- Nina, which is a desaster alarm run by the german Federal Office for Civil Protection
- Timely, a nice alarm clock
(these two rely on Play Services)
- Prometheus, a learning app for anatomy, for which I lost the license once I turned off the Google stuff (I think it depends on Playstore itself), and it didn't come back after switching it on again, while the other two were fine once I switched Play Services back on.

Have a nice weekend, kind regards

Posted by: NCI Aug 10 2018, 08:33 AM

QUOTE(Eldkatten @ Aug 10 2018, 08:23 AM) *
Ah, there they are. And many more ohmy.gif I am able to force stop them, but can't remove or deactivate them. The button is greyed out.

You can, with Titanium Backup. Even the free version from Play/Yalp store will be able to remove them. On my device, however, option to disable MTKLogger in system settings was greyed out - so I had to use pirated Titanium Backup Pro to do it; couldn't remove it even with Titanium Backup, by the way.

Posted by: jerome Aug 10 2018, 01:44 PM

I would like to thank NCI for that guide, which is just what I needed.

Posted by: jerome Aug 10 2018, 01:55 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 10 2018, 08:29 AM) *
I you have agreed within the terms and conditions and the company is upfront about what it is doing then that is not spyware. It is when it is happening without your knowledge, and you seem extremely aware of everything Google are doing, that it is spyware.


Except that the proposal "accept to be spied upon or do not use a smartphone" can be understood as taking undue advantage of an inequality in bargaining power:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscionability

I really wonder why there is always somebody on these threads to defend google, a multibillions rich company. Are you a google employee? All we want here is a technical discussion on how to design a particular custom rom for the device we all bought.

Posted by: NCI Aug 10 2018, 05:32 PM

QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 10 2018, 01:55 PM) *
All we want here is a technical discussion on how to design a particular custom rom for the device we all bought.

A proper LineageOS ROM would be fantastic,. I personally miss tons of little customization options here and there, which I learned to treat as something available by default using LineageOS/CM for years. \=
QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 10 2018, 01:44 PM) *
I would like to thank NCI for that guide, which is just what I needed.

You're welcome, glad it helps!

Posted by: jerome Aug 10 2018, 08:57 PM

QUOTE(NCI @ Aug 11 2018, 01:32 AM) *
A proper LineageOS ROM would be fantastic,. I personally miss tons of little customization options here and there, which I learned to treat as something available by default using LineageOS/CM for years. \=


If I understood correctly, the available Lineage OS ROM misses proper drivers. Would it be possible to start from that ROM and paste in the drivers from the official ROM?

Posted by: NCI Aug 11 2018, 01:08 PM

QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 10 2018, 08:57 PM) *
If I understood correctly, the available Lineage OS ROM misses proper drivers. Would it be possible to start from that ROM and paste in the drivers from the official ROM?

It sounds logical, but only someone with actual experience in this field can answer for sure.

Posted by: graynada Aug 11 2018, 05:35 PM

QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 10 2018, 10:55 PM) *
QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 10 2018, 08:29 AM) *
I you have agreed within the terms and conditions and the company is upfront about what it is doing then that is not spyware. It is when it is happening without your knowledge, and you seem extremely aware of everything Google are doing, that it is spyware.


Except that the proposal "accept to be spied upon or do not use a smartphone" can be understood as taking undue advantage of an inequality in bargaining power:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscionability

I really wonder why there is always somebody on these threads to defend google, a multibillions rich company. Are you a google employee? All we want here is a technical discussion on how to design a particular custom rom for the device we all bought.


No I don't work for Google and I am not defending Google as such, all I am trying to point out is that you are singling out Google and miss defining what they do. Virtually every large company you deal with collects data on you nd uses it to try and improve service and/or ncrease sales. Ultimately Google isn't even trying to increase sales to you, because you get their product free. As I said before what actual harm are people suffering from Google's data gathering? for me it is being shown a list of sheds for sale after I have just bought a shed, no different to Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Argos blah blah blah. They are not stealing money from my bank account, selling my house without my knowledge, harvesting my organs. I for one am much more interested in real spyware and security risks and creating false impressions around any legitimate corporation is unhelpful in this respect.

You may wish also to remember that without Google you wouldn't be having the opportunity to develop the custom ROMs, there would be no Android, and we would all most likely be stuck with iOS, a world I am glad I do not inhabit. And that's without mentioning the freedom distributing Android Studio has given millions to develop top rate applications for us all to use and enjoy.

As I have said before I am perfectly happy that you would want to remove Google products from your Android device, and I congratulate you on your endeavours and your guide. But the facts remain to call it removing 'spyware' is plain wrong and I believe leaves a Gemini more vulnerable to spyware and other very dangerous security threats.

Thank you for including the warnings, maybe you would consider remove 'spyware' from the title and description too?

Posted by: jerome Aug 11 2018, 10:18 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 12 2018, 01:35 AM) *
No I don't work for Google and I am not defending Google as such, all I am trying to point out is that you are singling out Google and miss defining what they do.


We are not "singling out Google", it simply happens that Google is what we want to remove from the Gemini phone. If it were a Samsung phone, we would discuss Google and Samsung (who adds further non removable software to their phones).


QUOTE
Virtually every large company you deal with collects data on you


I can refuse to deal with any particular company of my choice. Actually, I often do. I don't accept customer loyalty cards, often pay cash, etc...


QUOTE
and uses it to try and improve service and/or ncrease sales. Ultimately Google isn't even trying to increase sales to you, because you get their product free.


Google business model is not to increase sales of their products to me but to increase the sale of their advertising products to their real customers.


QUOTE
As I said before what actual harm are people suffering from Google's data gathering?


That is for us to judge and examples were given earlier in the thread, which you simply ignored.


QUOTE
for me it is being shown a list of sheds for sale after I have just bought a shed, no different to Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Argos blah blah blah. They are not stealing money from my bank account, selling my house without my knowledge, harvesting my organs.


Indeed google is not harvesting your organs. Do you see what you have written here? Why do you go to such ridiculous comparisons in your eager to defend a multibillions dollars company?


QUOTE
You may wish also to remember that without Google you wouldn't be having the opportunity to develop the custom ROMs, there would be no Android, and we would all most likely be stuck with iOS, a world I am glad I do not inhabit.


The opposite is true actually. There have been various efforts to develop alternative phone operating systems and they ultimately failed because Google leveraged their quasi monopoly.

Posted by: graynada Aug 11 2018, 11:02 PM

QUOTE
That is for us to judge and examples were given earlier in the thread, which you simply ignored


And you are simply ignoring the plain and simple fact that what you are removing here is not spyware. The fact that Google are a multi billion dollar company doesn't change that in anyway shape or form.

QUOTE
I can refuse to deal with any particular company of my choice. Actually, I often do. I don't accept customer loyalty cards, often pay cash, etc...


But you buy an Android phone thereby choosing to deal with Google?

QUOTE
Google business model is not to increase sales of their products to me but to increase the sale of their advertising products to their real customers.


Thank you for further explaining exactly the exact point I was making. As persons of free will you and I then can choose if we are influenced by their customers. No harm done.

QUOTE
Samsung (who adds further non removable software to their phones).


Of course, some of it very useful, but again I wouldn't call it spyware or attack Samsung for including their software.

QUOTE
The opposite is true actually. There have been various efforts to develop alternative phone operating systems and they ultimately failed because Google leveraged their quasi monopoly.


That explains how those poor down trodden underdogs at the barely funded Microsoft couldn't get people to adopt their mobile operating system. Ultimately the operating system has to good to survive as Google proved to get a market share against Apple in the first place.

Ultimately I will go back to my first point which is the one you seem to be ignoring. It in no way bothers me that you want to remove all traces of Google products from your Android phone but it is still not spyware!!

Posted by: jerome Aug 12 2018, 01:13 AM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 12 2018, 07:02 AM) *
And you are simply ignoring the plain and simple fact that what you are removing here is not spyware.


I did not use that particular word in any of my post. You may be confusing me with the o.p.

QUOTE
But you buy an Android phone thereby choosing to deal with Google?


I bought the only small device on the market with a keyboard and I expected that device to support a google-free experience. It was specifically advertised with the capacity to install alternative OSes, which is what I am discussing here.

QUOTE
Thank you for further explaining exactly the exact point I was making. As persons of free will you and I then can choose if we are influenced by their customers. No harm done.


You are not quite honest here and ignoring the whole body of psychological studies on influence, but at least you don't continue with the argument that google does not sell your organs.

QUOTE
It in no way bothers me that you want to remove all traces of Google products from your Android phone


Great to have this sorted out.

Posted by: graynada Aug 12 2018, 01:32 AM

QUOTE
I bought the only small device on the market with a keyboard and I expected that device to support a google-free experience. It was specifically advertised with the capacity to install alternative OSes, which is what I am discussing here.


I assumed that the Google free experience would be expected outside of the Google supplied OS Android, ie in the Linux environment. What is being discussed here is a Google (spyware) free experience within the Google OS, still achievable as demonstrated by the guide but not one of the features advertised by Planet.
QUOTE


QUOTE
I did not use that particular word in any of my post. You may be confusing me with the o.p.


So do you agree it is not spyware and thus this thread is misrepresented?

QUOTE
You are not quite honest here and ignoring the whole body of psychological studies on influence, but at least you don't continue with the argument that google does not sell your organs.


Advertising is legal and essentially (sadly) everywhere, you will not be free from the influence of others (even the Goole customers you are trying to avoid) by removing the Google components from Android. I didn't explain the organ harvesting comment as I hoped it was obvious that that was a bit of melodrama to make a point about focus on the real harm available over the Internet rather than the hyped.

QUOTE
Great to have this sorted out.


You are welcome. This was a point I had made much earlier. My issues were with the use of the term spyware and that users following this guide would have a less secure device than they started with following a guide that could be construded as a guide to improve security. This has been address to a degree with the included warning now.

Posted by: Eldkatten Aug 12 2018, 03:34 AM

Hello,

on "Spyware": while I can follow the arguments agains (and for) Google applications being Spyware, there is one point the one(s) arguing against do not address, and I think this is the main point for wanting to remove all Google stuff. At least for me it is.

I installed a firewall, which should block all unwanted network access, both GSM and WiFi. Nevertheless I observe network traffic by applications I both blocked with named firewall and by switching off data use, "synchronisation" and such as far as possible in the settings.
Thus Google software send (and assumingly receive) data out of the device via network connections, regardless. Thus Google software ignore the settings I, the owner of the device (and I might add: still the owner of my data and data profiles), have willingly and consciously set. And to add insult to injury Google software does this secretely, meaning they hide the network access and the sending of data from me. If I hadn't checked thoroughly "who" is accessing the network, I wouldn't have found out.

Sorry for calling such a behaviour "spying" and software, which shows such behaviour "spyware", even it is not by the book. But no matter what label we stick to it: I do not want to send Google (or anyone else for that matter) data concerning me without my consent, let be against my consent, and especially not secretely, in order to deceive me. If Google software can't be configurated to not sending data, because it is ignoring settings or doesn't offer such settings, I want it removed from my device.

Just my oponion. Kind regards

Posted by: bloblo Aug 12 2018, 03:59 AM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 12 2018, 01:32 AM) *
So do you agree it is not spyware and thus this thread is misrepresented?

If it sends data affecting the user's privacy without an off switch, and the user doesn't want that, then it can be considered Spyware. Not sure why you two discuss this over kilometers of pages...? See also wikipedia:
QUOTE
Spyware is software that aims to gather information about a person or organization sometimes without their knowledge, that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent[...]


Also, whether it is actually Spyware or not is also somewhat irrelevant for the guide, since people who don't consider it so can simply leave the Google things on their device. So maybe with this we can return to the topic at hand, the practical steps.

Posted by: graynada Aug 12 2018, 05:08 AM

QUOTE
Also, whether it is actually Spyware or not is also somewhat irrelevant for the guide, since people who don't consider it so can simply leave the Google things on their device. So maybe with this we can return to the topic at hand, the practical steps.


I don't think it is irrelevant as the implication is you are improving security while actually deminishing it.

QUOTE
Sorry for calling such a behaviour "spying" and software, which shows such behaviour "spyware", even it is not by the book. But no matter what label we stick to it: I do not want to send Google (or anyone else for that matter) data concerning me without my consent, let be against my consent, and especially not secretely, in order to deceive me. If Google software can't be configurated to not sending data, because it is ignoring settings or doesn't offer such settings, I want it removed from my device.


That is the point, it is with your consent. If you don't want to send Google data do not agree to their terms and conditions. It is very simple.

Posted by: bloblo Aug 12 2018, 05:19 AM

Right, that's how it works with any Spyware - they usually don't make your computer more insecure apart from the data transfer, and if you stop using it (or remove it) you will be no longer spied upon rolleyes.gif

Posted by: graynada Aug 12 2018, 05:27 AM

QUOTE(bloblo @ Aug 12 2018, 02:19 PM) *
Right, that's how it works with any Spyware - they usually don't make your computer more insecure apart from the data transfer, and if you stop using it (or remove it) you will be no longer spied upon rolleyes.gif


I disagree. The point about spyware is yo are unaware of its activities and have not intentionally installed that software. By your own admission you are acutely aware of what is happening and have intentionally install and agreed to the T&Cs of said software. That is not how real spyware works rolleyes.gif laugh.gif biggrin.gif

Posted by: Eldkatten Aug 12 2018, 12:02 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 12 2018, 03:27 PM) *
(...)I disagree. (...)

And I don't care whether you do or don't. With your pernicketiness and know-all manner you are missing the point everyone else in this thread is considering the actualy important one: Google is collecting data on a device that it doesn't own, and sends it to goodness-knows-where. And can't get switched off doing so. It doesn't matter whether the user is forced to "agree" to that behaviour if the only reasonable alternative is to not being able to use his/her own device. And when I use the few settings that seem to switch off the data collecting and sending, and the collecting and sending goes on nevertheless, then the data collecting and sending is done
- without my consent
- secretely, i.e. without the user's knowledge and thus deceiving the user.
This is both spying and malicious.

Honestly, your, graynada's, harping on puny details about whether Google (and MTK) loggers, data colletion and sending may be called Spyware, is on the verge of trolling, in my opinion. Can't you just leave it alone? As I see it, everyone else in the thread agrees on what is meant in the topic. I really want to read about how to keep that software from sending my data to whomever, and I'm really tired about your attitude of being the only one who knows what Spyware is and everyone else is wrong. It's a question of definition, and in this thread we - that is everyone except you - agreed on a certain definition.
Whether it suits you or not.

Can we get back to the topic, which is about removing or blocking software that collects and sends data? Please?

Posted by: jerome Aug 12 2018, 12:25 PM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 12 2018, 09:32 AM) *
QUOTE
I bought the only small device on the market with a keyboard and I expected that device to support a google-free experience. It was specifically advertised with the capacity to install alternative OSes, which is what I am discussing here.

I assumed that the Google free experience would be expected outside of the Google supplied OS Android, ie in the Linux environment.


I simply want a small computer using Android Open Source Project (AOSP), without additions.

Posted by: jakfish Aug 12 2018, 01:27 PM

At this point, I feel we should agree to disagree and leave it at that. It's a philosophical discussion that clearly can't be reconciled. Let the OP tend to the first post and update his/her approach with help from like-minded people and keep it there.

Because more important than even philosophy is the fact that we are a small community and we really do need each other's technical support. We're missing great chunks of information--how to reflash safely, how to get US carriers to work properly, etc--and none of us are in position to burn bridges over arguments that seem to have a thousand conclusions.

Sorry to sound so Kum ba yah,

Jake

Posted by: graynada Aug 12 2018, 02:45 PM

QUOTE(jakfish @ Aug 12 2018, 10:27 PM) *
At this point, I feel we should agree to disagree and leave it at that. It's a philosophical discussion that clearly can't be reconciled. Let the OP tend to the first post and update his/her approach with help from like-minded people and keep it there.

Because more important than even philosophy is the fact that we are a small community and we really do need each other's technical support. We're missing great chunks of information--how to reflash safely, how to get US carriers to work properly, etc--and none of us are in position to burn bridges over arguments that seem to have a thousand conclusions.

Sorry to sound so gum-bay-ya,

Jake


In the spirit of harmony and out of respect for Jakes's request I shakk not comment further.

Good luck with your endeavours.

Posted by: depscribe Aug 13 2018, 05:44 AM

QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 11 2018, 10:18 PM) *
Google business model is not to increase sales of their products to me but to increase the sale of their advertising products to their real customers.

And it turns out that it collects information that we have not agreed to: "Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to."
That from the Associated Press today: https://apnews.com/828aefab64d4411bac257a07c1af0ecb/AP-Exclusive:-Google-tracks-your-movements,-like-it-or-not

Posted by: graynada Aug 13 2018, 05:53 AM

QUOTE(depscribe @ Aug 13 2018, 02:44 PM) *
QUOTE(jerome @ Aug 11 2018, 10:18 PM) *
Google business model is not to increase sales of their products to me but to increase the sale of their advertising products to their real customers.

And it turns out that it collects information that we have not agreed to: "Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to."
That from the Associated Press today: https://apnews.com/828aefab64d4411bac257a07c1af0ecb/AP-Exclusive:-Google-tracks-your-movements,-like-it-or-not


So you not joining in the agreeing to disagree and leave it be then?

Posted by: depscribe Aug 13 2018, 06:23 AM

QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 13 2018, 05:53 AM) *
So you not joining in the agreeing to disagree and leave it be then?

I guess it would take a Google fanboy to arrive at the conclusion that an agreement between himself and some guy named Jake applies to everyone.

Posted by: graynada Aug 13 2018, 06:30 AM

QUOTE(depscribe @ Aug 13 2018, 03:23 PM) *
QUOTE(graynada @ Aug 13 2018, 05:53 AM) *
So you not joining in the agreeing to disagree and leave it be then?

I guess it would take a Google fanboy to arrive at the conclusion that an agreement between himself and some guy named Jake applies to everyone.


Whatever

Posted by: sdare Oct 4 2018, 09:05 AM

Know this thread has gone quiet, but am bumping because i agree with the goals emphasized in two posts by OP & Jake


Keep it up guys!

Posted by: ehasbrouck Oct 6 2018, 07:26 AM

QUOTE(sdare @ Oct 4 2018, 10:05 AM) *
Know this thread has gone quiet, but am bumping because i agree with the goals emphasized in two posts by OP & Jake
    * a Gemini PDA running close-to AOSP
    * more community-generated lessons-learned regarding fundamental gaps (ex: re-flashing, US SIM issues)

Keep it up guys!


With respect to a Gemini PDA running "close-to AOSP", I think the best chance for that is through a fully working version of Lineage OS for the Gemini.

I don't know what level of effort that may take form Planet Computers, but they need to do what it takes to make that happen.

People may use these terms with different meanings or assume different definitions, but I think "Android" refers to an open-source operating system originally developed and released by Google.

The fact that Android was originally developed and released by Google doesn't mean that it isn't open source. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, which was originally developed and released as open source by Sun Microsystems, based on an originally proprietary software package called StarOffice from another commercial software developer. But now that it is open source, it can be, and has been, forked, and could be again.

Similarly, open-source Android has forks such as Lineage OS.

It is possible to combine Android with proprietary software. Most device manufacturers pre-install a combination of open-source Android and proprietary Google software. I would call this package "Google OS". Many Lineage OS users also install some Google apps and services.

But Planetcom sold the Gemini to Indiegogo backers as a device that would have cellular data, SMS, and calling functionaity in two open-source operating systems: Android and Linux. Not Google OS and Linux. Planetcom never said that support for the Gemini hardware on Android would depend on installing proprietary Google services and apps in addition to open-source Android. There is no need, and no good reason, for Planetcom to force that dependency on Gemini users who (for whatever reason) don't want it. It's not a hardware dependecy, but purely a commercial or political choice by Planetcom. And it goes contrary to how the Gemini was marketed to Indiegogo backers.

As of now, mobile data, SMS, and calling aren't supported in any open-source OS for the Gemini.

I have no objection to Planetcom making available a Google OS distribution for those who want it. But firsn they should deliver the functionality they promised on Android and Linux.

Posted by: petefoth Oct 7 2018, 12:09 AM

QUOTE(ehasbrouck @ Oct 6 2018, 04:26 PM) *
QUOTE(sdare @ Oct 4 2018, 10:05 AM) *
Know this thread has gone quiet, but am bumping because i agree with the goals emphasized in two posts by OP & Jake
    * a Gemini PDA running close-to AOSP
    * more community-generated lessons-learned regarding fundamental gaps (ex: re-flashing, US SIM issues)

Keep it up guys!


With respect to a Gemini PDA running "close-to AOSP", I think the best chance for that is through a fully working version of Lineage OS for the Gemini.

I don't know what level of effort that may take form Planet Computers, but they need to do what it takes to make that happen.

People may use these terms with different meanings or assume different definitions, but I think "Android" refers to an open-source operating system originally developed and released by Google.

The fact that Android was originally developed and released by Google doesn't mean that it isn't open source. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, which was originally developed and released as open source by Sun Microsystems, based on an originally proprietary software package called StarOffice from another commercial software developer. But now that it is open source, it can be, and has been, forked, and could be again.

Similarly, open-source Android has forks such as Lineage OS.

It is possible to combine Android with proprietary software. Most device manufacturers pre-install a combination of open-source Android and proprietary Google software. I would call this package "Google OS". Many Lineage OS users also install some Google apps and services.


My understanding has always been that 'Android' refers to the whole platform / package - consisting of the open source parts (AOSP - the Android Open Source Project), and the suite of proprietary software developed by Google (GMail, Play Store etc.). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_%28operating_system%29 seems to support that interpretation. 'Google OS' is not a phrase that is in very common use, and I don't know of anyone who uses it to refer to Android. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_OS offers the Android Operating System as only one possible interpretation.

QUOTE
But Planetcom sold the Gemini to Indiegogo backers as a device that would have cellular data, SMS, and calling functionaity in two open-source operating systems: Android and Linux. Not Google OS and Linux. Planetcom never said that support for the Gemini hardware on Android would depend on installing proprietary Google services and apps in addition to open-source Android. There is no need, and no good reason, for Planetcom to force that dependency on Gemini users who (for whatever reason) don't want it. It's not a hardware dependecy, but purely a commercial or political choice by Planetcom. And it goes contrary to how the Gemini was marketed to Indiegogo backers.


No. They sold it as supporting Android and Linux, and that's what they have delivered.

QUOTE
As of now, mobile data, SMS, and calling aren't supported in any open-source OS for the Gemini.

I have no objection to Planetcom making available a Google OS distribution for those who want it. But firsn they should deliver the functionality they promised on Android and Linux.


Planet's Indiegogo offering was a device running both Android and Linux, and they have delivered that. I think you are being disingenuous in saying they promised two open-source operating systems: if they had meant that, they could have used a phrase such as 'a free and open-source operating system, based on the Android mobile platform', as used by CyanogenMod and LineageOS which, unlike Android, are fully open-source. That may be what you - and maybe some others - wanted, but it isn't what Planet offered.


Posted by: jerome Oct 7 2018, 01:41 AM

I also belong to the people who would like lineage OS or, at the very least, a version of Android without google proprietary software. I understand it may not be what was promised, but I also think there is a sizeable amount of customers who want just that: a small device with a keyboard, capable of connecting to the Internet and without google proprietary libraries.

Let us just keep focussing on making that happen. I saw the announcement from Planet about further Android development. Could we please have what is needed for a developper to package a version of Lineage OS running on the Gemini?

Posted by: ehasbrouck Oct 11 2018, 04:31 PM

QUOTE(petefoth @ Oct 7 2018, 01:09 AM) *
My understanding has always been that 'Android' refers to the whole platform / package - consisting of the open source parts (AOSP - the Android Open Source Project), and the suite of proprietary software developed by Google (GMail, Play Store etc.)....

No. They sold it as supporting Android and Linux, and that's what they have delivered.


Google is explicit that Android is an open-source OS, and that Google services and apps are not part of Android:

https://source.android.com/compatibility/overview.html

QUOTE
Google Mobile Services (GMS) [is] Google's proprietary suite of apps (Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, and more) that run on top of Android. GMS is not part of the Android Open Source Project and is available only through a license with Google


Planetcom have *not* yet delivered cellular data, SMS, and cellphone voice calling on *any* open-source OS -- neither Linux nor Android.

Cellular data, SMS, and cellphone voice calling currently work with Android on the Gemini only if you *also* install (or accept pre-installation of) a proprietary blob of Google apps and services. But there's no good reason for Planetcom to require Gemini users to install (or accept pre-installation of) unrelated Google services and apps in order use their devices for cellular data, SMS, or cellphone voice calling.

QUOTE
Could we please have what is needed for a developer to package a version of Lineage OS running on the Gemini?


+1

Posted by: ehasbrouck Oct 17 2018, 02:20 PM

In response to sanctions imposed on Google for violations of European Union competition (anti-trust) law, Google has announced changes in its licensing for Google apps that are often bundled with Android.

According to a post in an offical Google blog on 16 October 2018:

https://www.blog.google/around-the-globe/google-europe/complying-ecs-android-decision/

QUOTE
First, we’re updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA).

Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.


This makes it even more clear that the proprietary Googleware often bundled with Android is *not* part of Android: "Android will remain free and open source."

This also should make it clear that Planetcom or any other company can, if it wants, support and distribute devices with a version of Android (such as Lineage OS) that isn't bundled with Googleware.

I understand that Planetcom may want to pre-install Android bundled with Googleware as the *default* on the Gemini. But Android (free and open source, without Googleware) should be an easily installable option for the Gemini, supported by Planetcom, for those who want it.

Posted by: NCI Oct 17 2018, 05:41 PM

FWIW Planetcom can support LineageOS, or other form of Google-free Android, but they don't have to. We can't impose it on them. On the other hand, we can ask, in hopes they'll give up and finally give us what we want. If everyone interested in this problem e-mails them - maybe, just maybe, we can change the situation for the better. What do we have to loose, after all?

Posted by: NCI Apr 14 2019, 06:26 AM

Waiting patiently for Android 8.1 to update the guide.

https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/bcv2a2/tracking_phones_google_is_a_dragnet_for_the_police/

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