Data your apps collect about you.

I was reading an article about Tik Tok and all the data it collects about it’s users.

I’m not picking on Tik Tok as I’m sure most apps on these devices do pretty much the same thing.

According to the article, here’s a summary of what Tik Tok collects:

- your name, age, username, email, password, phone number, location

- the content of messages, when they’re sent, received and read, and by whom

- text, images and videos on your clipboard

- purchase information, including payment card numbers, billing and shipping addresses

- a user’s activities on other websites and apps or in stores, including the products or services purchased, online or in person

- file names and types

- keystroke patterns and rhythms

- your IP address, mobile carrier, time zone settings, model of your device and operating system

- information about videos, images and audio

- objects and scenery that appear in your videos, including tourist attractions, shops or other points of interest

- biometric identifiers such as faceprints and voiceprints

- cookies that collect, measure and analyze which web pages users view most often and how they interact with content (this info allows TikTok to target videos, ads and political messages based on your habits and interests)

The article didn’t go into what they do with all of that. I’m sure most of it has to do with directed advertising and providing content you’ve expressed an interest in.

I guess we now know why these apps are “free”. :grinning:

Yep. Operating systems these days are also collecting data on users. Google, Microsoft, Apple all do it.

Agreed. A sad state of affairs to be sure. Makes me wonder why people do it.

As bad as that is, it pales in comparison to some of the information coming out lately about the mental health issues and other social anxiety problems young people are having because they’re pretty much living in a cyber world now instead of the real world.

I’m sure, as with all things, this too shall pass. What worries me is what comes next.

Maybe one of the upsides of the economy or the electrical grid shitting the bed is we will all have to go back and learn how to talk to each other in person again while we stand in line waiting on our daily food ration. :grinning:

The biggest problem I see with the tech privacy issue is lack of pushback from users.

Browser fingerprinting is a big deal too, the EFF has a site you can check yours on here:

There should be legislation regarding this. Browsers should have a generic option where everybody has the same fingerprint, or maybe a choice of 5 or whatever.

I agree. But short of just not using the apps, what can a user do?

I’m not in favor of government stepping in and telling these tech companies what they can and can’t do.

Maybe, as with most things, make as many people as possible aware of exactly what is going on and then let them decide. I think if people really start to understand that they’re walking around with devices that are capable of tracking everything they say, everything they do, and everywhere they go, maybe most of them will start putting the damn things down and start using the tech as it was intended, not what it morphed into being.

Use apps and operating systems that respect user privacy and bring up the issue of user privacy publicly. The more people who do those things, the more that companies have to pay attention to user privacy in order to stay in business. But that requires effort by users.

We’re pretty entrenched into a high tech world. I don’t see that reversing anytime soon.

Are you referring to things like Linux and other open source software?

Yes. Even those have to be watched out for in some cases. But it’s more about degree and usually to a small degree with open source stuff. For example, Snookoda mentioned switching to /e/os for a phone OS recently because Lineage OS uses Google DNS servers, which means that Google sees which sites Lineage OS users visit, although many Lineage OS users switched away from Android to get away from Google.

You can change the DNS in LineageOS easily, although it’s google by default. I noticed that gremlins appeared when I changed mine though.

Same when I changed the Captive Portal, where I had to create a web page for it to contact. Had to use ADB (Android debug via Android dev tools) to change that. Then I had to confirm a connection was valid every so often, which didn’t happen before.

SUPL, which is a check to update satellite positions whenever GPS reconnects, doesn’t seem possible to change on LineageOS without building from source.

/e/OS uses alternatives for those.

People, like me, switched to LineageOS to “degoogle”, but it turns out that it’s not a primary goal of the devs. Doesn’t stop people talking about it as if it is, although it is a lot less googley than stock Android.

It’s been some time since I used Linux and other open source software. Back then, they did seem to require a certain level of technical expertise, and there were some issues with available applications and such. Has a lot of that been resolved?

What do you think about this Pod architecture Berners-Lee has been pushing? What little I know about it does seem to provide a pretty good level of security for user data. But like I said, I don’t know much about the details.

Linux is still a pain in the ass. :smiley: Things have definitely improved, but hitting the command line is still required once in a while. Gaming has came a long way on Linux, and more applications are available these days. But the majority of commercial developers still target Windows and Mac, and running Windows things through Wine is still Wine. I would say that users who need to run specific applications for work are the most locked into using Windows, followed by users who want to run specific commercial applications such as a daw and VST plugins (Reaper works, as do many plugins), average home users should be fine (with the occasional command-line journey), and gamers probably have it the best these days.

On Berners-Lee’s idea, I think that the modern web has gotten so dependent on data hoovering as a business model that it won’t be easily given up.

Linux is much better than it used to be. Most standard hardware has a driver and drivers are built into the Linux kernel. There should be .driver files though to install for stuff where contributing to the kernel would be a PITA or not desirable.

It’s still a bit footery though. I need to run a command when I plug my second monitor into the HDMI port to switch to nvidia drivers. It’s barely a hassle… now that I know what to do!!

My trusty NAS runs on Samba 1 which is outdated, so I need to edit a config file to get it working. On Windows it’s disabled too, but you go into “Add or remove features” thing to enable it there. Kind of shows the different approaches.

For apps, there are apps to do most stuff but there still aren’t a lot of big companies doing Linux builds.

Thanks Brain and Snook.

I was always a big fan of Linux servers back in my IT Admin days, they were rock solid.

But I think the tech aspects of the open source software is always going to be an issue with everyday people.

My PC is Windows, but when it dies I’ll be getting a Mac. Then all my devices will be Apple. And while I’m sure Apple is gathering just as much information on me as the rest of them, I trust them a helluva lot more than I trust Google.

But then we’re back to that choice between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich again. :grinning:

The way I see it is that every bit of feedback the devs of these alternatives get back makes them better for everybody else in the long run. Dual booting Linux and trying to use it as much as possible isn’t a big ask really, especially these days with super fast SSDs where it’s literally less than a minute to close out of one OS and open the other.

With phones, if everybody who was peed off with Google/Apple got an alternative then that’s power over banks or whoever wants to restrict their apps to the Big Two. Even 10%… what board is going to accept a drop of 10% sales/use without first doing everything they can to get those users back? The next year they’ll be in line for big bonuses if they can!