Why i think Fairphone OS should drop root and pre-install Google Apps

A bit of background

When Android was still in it’s infancy, almost every manufacturer implement proprietary software hoping the deliver a unique experience and differentiation from other manufactures. This was largely understandable given a lot of those manufactures gave up their own proprietary mobile operating system and felt the urge to differentiate in software to: Customers should buy into their ecosystem to remain loyal. But as time showed, their software was often inferior to Google’s offerings, sometimes buggy, slowly to pick up security and other os updates.

This prompted the creation of the Nexus and Google Experience lines: Top-Smartphones with an unmodified Android as delivered by Google – no bloatware, no skins, no replaced apps. Currently instances of Android flavours have far more in common to each other across manufacturers – and that is good think. Some smaller companies even promote delivering unmodified version of Android and companies like Motorola (and to a lesser extend Sony) are generally praised for their sublte to almost non-existant refining of Android as imagined by Google. And with Google Software constantly evolving, the need for added features from manufactures is smaller then some years ago.

Today, Android Lollipop is largely seen as the most polished and beautiful version of Android, finally on par with Apples iOS. Google has put increasing attention into user experience and it is very unlikely for smaller teams to improve substantially on this. This is not to say there is no room for small improvements, but they should focus on key areas.

The FP1 and it’s software.

When the Fairphone 1 was announced and later released, it featured some unique features like the “Enjoy Peace Widget”, the “Recent Apps Widget” and a customized Launcher – This customized version of Android was branded “Fairphone OS”. Fairphone also provided a “vanilla” version of Android. This is almost the version Google supplies, but there is a catch: Contrary to expectation, this is not AOSP (Android Open Source Project), then the unmodified, “vanilla” Version of Android goes by, but a already customized by MediaTek, chipset supplier of the first Fairphone. Other than that, the Fairphone software was set apart from other smartphones by to unique “features”: I comes sans Google Apps preinstalled and pre-rooted and features a custom branding.

Google Apps

Google Apps is a package of proprietary Google Services that allow you to use the full Android Ecosystem as imagined by Google by providing access to the “Play Store” and delivering the “Play Services”. The Play Store is the number one source for Android apps and the standard distribution platform. Play Services provided a set of tools for developers to plug-in, for example Google Cloud Messaging, which allows so-called push functionality for Apps. These are not required to use an Android device and a lot of Fairphone users live happily without them. Still they are so essential that most users expect them on their Android device. Commonly, what is meant by “Android-Smartphone” is a Android-based Software + the Google Apps. Therefore, the Fairphone Os provided a way to install these apps from day one. However, installation was cumbersome and error-prone and is a least a minor annoyance with each software update until today. Still, a lot of users a very happy to be given a choice and value their freedom towards using Google or not more than inconveniences introduced by the cumbersome installation.


A lot of operating systems know the concept of a superuser/root user: This users has elevated rights and access to the computers hard– and software to allowed to normal users. Typically, non-administrative applications are run as users with a limited access to prevent damage and malicious use like attacs. This is no different on Android, where typically only a very limited set of application that come bundled with the OS has elevated such rights, for example the Play Store and OS updating components. Users a not able to install applications requirering such rights, even if they explicitly want to. Some to not like being limited that way and see that as a restriction of their freedom. Root Access allows for very useful applications not possible otherwise, but it also poses a risk for novice users, as an application with root access can access and modify almost all parts of the system as well as users data stored on the device.

Apart from root-access, the Fairphone also comes with an unlocked bootloader by default. This is a perquisite for installing third party operating systems. Howeve, until today, no os suitable for daily use has been provided for the Fairphone.


The Fairphone features a custom ringtone, backgrounds and startup as well as charging animations. They do not affect the behaviour of the device in any way.

What makes the Fairphone so special?

I think the answer is obvious: The Fairphone is a model and reminder: It is possible to build attractive and usable devices while taking care of issues like social and environmental issues across the full lifecycle from sourcing of materials to longevity and repair-ability to second use and finally recycling. For me, the software used has never been the motivation to buy a Fairphone. I wanted to support that experiment and put pressure on other manufactures by setting a positive example. While large group of Fairphone users is heavenly invested in Open Source, i do not see this as a key area of Fairphone’s mission. More to that later, but for me, fairness was not about me, but the workers, the miners, their families and, in a more general sense, the environment.

I bought the Fairphone not for it’s Android software, even less for it’s customization, but to support that mission and setting an example: I am willing to pay a premium if i know the company i pay to put’s that money to good use.

The current software is dissapointing

To say it blunt: The FP1’s future does not look very bright, software wise. The mentioned Google Apps complications are alienating first time smartphone users as well as minor issues here and there. There is no outlook to ever get a major Android update what somehow contradicts the goal of longevity. Some features, promised before, like Bluetooh 4.0 support, important for activity trackers and smartwatches, will never arrive and as well as bugfixes. This is largely due to the way Android software updates are done, are process far more complicated then your usual OS X, Windows or Ubuntu update, the low volume of Fairphones (and with that, less supported from suppliers to Fairphone) and the choice of a cheap chipset from MediaTek. There is nothing to change about that. Would i buy a Fairphone again? Yes, definitly! Would i buy the FP1 again? Probably not.

A way forward

Fairphone has fixed a major problem with the FP1 already: It choose a popular, probably more expensive chipset for the next device. It increases volume and changed the manufacturer. It design a greater portion of the phone in-house promising better repairability. The next Fairphone might be a bit more expensive, but i will be more high-end promising better components, low-level software support and production quality. This is know from recent blog posts.

Software wise, only little is know about the next Fairphone. We know it will be Android based and we know the Fairphone is researching alternative open-source OSes like Jolla and Ubuntu. I would like to take the chance now and offer my thoughts about the software on the next smartphone.

A lean, almost unmodified Android

Software development is hard. Fairphone has a small team. It should but hard thought into each customization, because besides development costs, their are high maintenance costs as well. Fairphone should follow the example of Motorola here: Reduce custom software to what is really valuable and maintainable and deliver those parts in high quality. This means dropping some software: the Fairphone Launcher and the Recent Apps widgets offer little in terms of user experience. I actually think the standard Android Launcher is more user-friendly today. I think the best way is to offer an almost unmodified experience based on AOSP 5.1 or later. Add the nice Fairphone background images, boot and loading animations and most importantly, the ringtone – done. More customization is not necessary, Fairphone is unique already. So far so good, this is only step one – if the Fairphone is then able to provide major OS updates, i would be happy already! But why stop here?

Preinstall Google Apps and drop root.

Now, this is going to be very controversial. But here is i why: I think Fairphone unique strenght is social responsibly life-cycle and transparency in production and sourcing. This is a pretty strong and unique offering. I found a lot of people willing to buy an Fairphone. But honestly, i could not recommend it to most due to it’s software issues. I think the first focus should be a working usable device the meets the expectations of general users and newcomers alike. One for that every computer magazins tipps work and that behaves similar to your friends devices. Preinstalled Google Apps are expected by most users, and they provide very good and partly unique features. This will make life of user and supporters easier.

Dropping root sounds crazy, but lets think about that again: Root access has almost no benefits for end users, but poses increased risks and incompatibilities with certain apps, especially for mobile banking and/or payments. The same goes for the bootloader, which is unlocked by default on our the devices currently. This has been this way from day one, still there is not a single usable custom operating system for the Fairphone, but dozens for devices like the Galaxy S3. So away with that!

These measures should improve the software for most users. But what about the small and passionate crowd of “Google-free” people? The privacy minded users of “Xposed”, the Hackers and thinkers say, with good right: If you can’t open it, you don’t own it? Here comes step three.

The unlocked alternative

Now, my position so far has been: Remove customization, root access and unlocked bootloader and preinstall Google Apps. This will surely alienate some very passionate and important community members. And it makes developers lives harder, be it for custome operating systems or ports or even software development. For them unlocked bootloaders and root makes the job easier or is necessary. Step: Provide a easy way to unlock the device and a plain, purely open source (apart from device drivers) AOSP based distribution.

This software will not be installed by default, but will require users to unlock their device and tinker a bit. It should be made as easy as possible, but it should also be clear: You are leaving a end users path: If you go here, you are willing to accept some inconveniences, maybe bugs and more. But you get an unmodified Android without Googles Apps and the means to tinker arround freely. If Fairphone provides such images for installation, the source of necessary components to build and compile this yourself, you will have laid the groundwork to enable a larger crowd of developers to go ahead and port software like CyanogenMod, Firefox OS or even Ubuntu and Jolla.

There are already manufacturors doing pretty much that, a great example is Sony with their Xperia Z range of devices. See their developer website to see what their doing. As much as Motorola set an example how to deliver plain Android, Sony does with developer relations. And i am pretty sure this will make up for the pre-installed Google Apps for all our Open-Source fans (count me in here!).


Fairphone is already and unique example in social responsibility. It does not need to go new ways in software development.

I propose Fairphone should:

  1. follow the example set by Motorola and drop most custom apps and os customisation keeping only the unique “Enjoy peace widget/app” and branding like the ringtone. No more Fairphone Launcher.
  2. Preinstall Google Apps and drop root as well as the unlocked bootloader for general users.
  3. Provide an AOSP image like Sony does for developers, very good documentation and all sources as well as easy ways to unlock the bootloader to cater the need’s of developers, thinkers and open-source fellows.

This was a crazy long post, now i am interested to hear what you think!


You’re totally right!
For now I only read the headlines of your post and the “Preinstall Google Apps and drop root” paragraph.
I think many users on the Forum like the Fairphone for the Option not to be at Google’s mercy to use functions like Navigation/Maps, Mail & others and I also think many users, not just geeks, make good use of the root access.
For me personally preinstalled Google Apps on the FP2 would be just another reason not to get it and stick with the FP1U. And I wouldn’t feel as compfortable promoting it to friends anymore if the new FP let Google exploit it’s users.


Please read the paragraph “The unlocked alternative” or the conclusion as well!

What do you mean by that? You are fully able to use alternatives to Google Maps and Mail even with Google Apps installed. I would say the Play Store provides you with even more alternatives then F-Droid.org for example. There is Nokia Here, there is Navigon, there is OSMAnd+ (only the latest is in F-Droid as well). Regarding Mail, other than the great K9-Mail which i use and is in F-droid AND Play Store, there are Outlook, Mailbox etc. Regarding Search, there is DuckDuckGo, Bing etc. File sync: Dropbox, Box etc.

Having the Play Store installed in no way forces you to use Google Mail over competitive offerings!

I read it all now, it’s very interesting - I always love reading your articles and always learn alot doing so - and yes, the unlocked alternative would be a possibility but I still prefer it how it is right now.
If a Phone comes preinstalled with Google Apps 99% of users will probably never even find out about alternatives. Sure, FOSS is especially useful for developers but also normal users benefit from the 4 freedoms of Free Software. Users should control the software not the other way around as it’s the case with Google Apps.
Once you install Google Apps Google will know where you are, what you do, who you socialize with, what Apps you use and anything else you do with your Phone all the time. And they will profit from theese informations by selling them to other big companies who then e.g. provide you with custom advertisement to influence your phone-usage to further restrict your freedoms.
Sure you can download even more FOSS Apps from the Play Store than from F-Droid (more only as in quantity, because many of the same Apps that are available in both repositories are fully free on F-Droid and Open Source, infected by Admob or other proprietary Google Stuff on Play) but with every download from Google Play you give up more of your Freedom and give Google more power over you.


Thank you very much. You make an important point – Alternatives to Google, Facebook, etc. offerings seem to be invisible. And I am happy to have passionate FOSS supporters in this forum. But i think times have changed: At least since Snowdens relevations alternatives to big international companies have been promoted in almost every larger media outlet.

It just seems a lot of users to not care enough to really use them. While a lot of these are really good, Posteo for example, ( a german email provider that offer calendar and addressbook as well as support for syncronisation), will probably never be as comfortable as using Gmail with Contacts and Calendar on your Android Smartphone.

This is sad, yes, but these are decisions mostly made by adults. It is not hard to find out about these alternatives, but apart from getting their houses pixaleted like many did in germany, people do not switch in large masses.

But many do, and that make this switch conscious and step by step. I do not think we should force or pressure people not to use Googles services. And i disagree with your statement that Google is “exploiting” users. People are well aware that the services Google offers are not free, but paid for with information Google uses to sell ads. Still, while Google has the possibility to upload your data for example, even if you do not use their services, they are not legally allowed to do so. And i do not see any reason for them to risk trust and break the law. If you do not use Gmail, Google won’t read your mails, even if Gmail is installed. This is my personal believe, as much as you cited you believe above.

I think a better approach is to tell people: If you do not want Google, use this “Google Free Alternative”. Yes this will be some work, it will involve some tinkering. But that is fine, your Google free smartphone will force you to make mor concious decision in which services to use, where to get your apps and some of the alternatives aren’t simply as polished and user-friendly. You might say that is a worthy-tradeoff. And i would probably agree.

But in reality, there are apps people simply want which are not available outside the Play Store: WhatsApp, if you often travel, the DB Navigator (online way to use mobile tickets with germany largest railways) or Facebook and Spotify. I would argue that not everybody agreeing with Fairphones ideas towards fair production is also very Google critical or an FLOSS advocate. And I do think the Fairphone should focus on one area where it is already very good and arguable without competition: Fairer, social responsible and sustainable smartphones.

And therefore, the default should be very easy to use and meet buyers expectations when they buy an Android phone. Using a more standard approach will probably take a lot of burden from support teams, this forum with countless posts regarding Google Apps and crashes after reboots and improve first time user experience. That is my believe. These users can install F-Droid and explore Firefox, OSMAnd, AntennaPod and DAVdroid and all the other great FLOSS apps app by app. And still use commercial alternatives. They can start use open alternatives to these apps and alternative services step by step and IF they are happy with those, they will eventually make a switch. There is no need to make access to Google services harder to direct attention to mentioned alternatives.

Providing a second, open-sourced approach for a developers and privacy minded users like you and possibly me still allows us to make a clean cut. If we want to do so.


[quote=“ben, post:5, topic:5582, full:true”]
… People are well aware that the services Google offers are not free, but paid for with information Google uses to sell ads…
…These users can install F-Droid and explore Firefox, OSMAnd, AntennaPod and DAVdroid and all the other great FLOSS apps app by app. And still use commercial alternatives. They can start use open alternatives to these apps and alternative services step by step and IF they are happy with those, they will eventually make a switch…[/quote]

As a frequent traveller with NS (railways) I have to go with Google, otherwise I can’t use the app of the NS (reisplanner), Whatsapp, Spotify, Lourdes, Titanium Backup
But I also downloaded F-Droid straight from their homepage and I using K9-mail instead of Gmail,
OSMAnd instead of Google Maps, Firefox instead of the Google browser, OpenCameram.
So if there is an alternative I use that.

That 'Im using Fedora, an Linux OS surely helps to be looking doing things on a more OpenSource base.


Thanks what i am saying. I don’t use Gmail for important personal stuff, so i needed a good email client (i know that Gmail can handle other accounts as well today, but that is very recent change), so i discovered K9-mail and i am a happy user.
Using Firefox on the desktop, i installed it on my Fairphone right away. I think these two are no-brainers because very comfortable and en-par with closed alternatives.

I use OSMAnd as well and it is great. The Openstreetmap-Data is so detailed even for little foot-paths. But searching quickly for a place is still faster with Google Maps.

And then there is, like you said, WhatsApp, Spotify, travel planners (for railway, bus and other companies). Those will probably never be available in F-droid. And best way to install is the Play Store. I was living “Google-free” for six months with the Fairphone and missed almost nothing until I moved and installed DB Navigator for my travels and WhatsApp to keep in touch with people at home…

I think it is the same for most users: There will be one or two or even more apps not avaible in open source you really want to use. And as i suspect the great majority of users will therefore have to install the Play Store, i see no need not do the same as almost every other Android manufacturer and preinstall Googles services.

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And I think, the moment FP drops root, it becomes just a regular phone, with a bad support. Therefore totally dispensable. I’m not an Android developer, but I’m very glad my phone is rooted and I don’t have Google Apps (no Spotify, no WhatsApp, no Facebook, no Gmail,…). And, frankly, I don’t give a d*mn about people complaining about Software XY doesn’t run properly with rooted phone, because it’s the fault of that piece of bad software, not of the phone.
I know I’m just a geek and do not represent the majority of users without any privacy. But it’s the geeks like me who made this project possible.


I completely agree. I bought a FP because of the “fair trade” idea. It is my first smartphone, I really don’t care about the software: as long as it is easy to use, I’ll use it. And some people won’t like this, but Android + Google apps works easier than most alternatives.

So, I use Google maps AND an open source off-line navigator. And many other “non-google” alternatives. I use them when I find them better than the Google ones. Not because of some hate towards one company (it always makes me think about the Micro$oft-hate a decade ago :slight_smile: ). And yes, sometimes I am frustrated by the way my FP wants to “avoid” Google (not installing google play store,…).

If FP would take the same position, it would be bankrupt by now. Because this is not true:

I’m sorry, but I don’t think only geeks care enough about Fair Trade to be part of a croudfunding leading to the FP1.

I also think many people who are using a FP are not represented on the forum. Who are they? I don’t think it are the geeks. I think these are the people who care about Fair Trade, but not so much about software-related freedom…


[quote=“danielsjohan, post:9, topic:5582”]
If FP would take the same position, it would be bankrupt by now.
[/quote]And I think you’re right here. But

  1. I’m not from FP team
  2. It would happen, because ppl choose to blame the wrong guys.

Imagine you’ve got a 100MBit internet connection and your banking software would run a speed test and tell you that it wont run on your computer cause it needs a 5Mbit connection. How would you feel about it? Will you blame your ISP? Will you ask it to get you a 5Mbit connection?

Imagine you’ve got a PC where you can choose the OS to use. Imagine you’ve installed an OS which allows you to install any program you want and gives you extended ability to customize/modify/set up the OS. Now imagine a program which is designed for that OS that tells you to give up all the control, all the programs that use the extended abilities and forbids you to re-enable it later without a complete re-install of the OS.


@Ben @Lidwien: Just for the record: Whatsapp offers their Android app from their website to download. It updates itself (no app store needed).

@all: I did not install Google Apps on my current setup, and can still use Whatsapp. And generally I think that, as more alternatives to Android and iOS emerge, more companies (like transport companies) will offer their services outside app stores. Actually it’s only a question of providing an intelligently designed web page. Advantages for them are:

  • They only need to develop one web app and not apps for different platforms and thousands of different phones, which have a huge potential for compatibility issues.
  • The web app is up to date at any moment.

PS: I still do not understand, why Google Apps cannot be removed after installation. Do they really need to dig that deep into the system to provide their “services”? (K9-Mail, e.g., doesn’t even need root permission to run…)


I’m guessing they need to dig deep to provide their anti-services. If they wouldn’t dig so deep how could they still spy on your email if you’re using K-9 and not GMail?
I don’t think that installing alternative Aps alongside GAPPS increases your privacy very much, especially if you download them from Play. Once you let Google on your phone you’re pretty much doomed.
Oh and btw, the nice people from the MicorG Project who allready brought us their Unified NLP as an alternative to Google’s Network Location Spyer/Provider, are working on providing FOSS alternatives for all Google “Services”. If I understand their project descriptions correctly the’ll make Android believe that GAPPS are installed, so Apps that only run with GAPPS work just fine and if they usually use GMaps there is an OSM-API for that. I’m donating to them on Gratipay.


Thanks for all your comments, expecially the critical ones. One thing that is overlooked in my point of we is step 3 of 3 action points above – this will not only help people to keep their phone free of proprietary google apps but should also make the live a lot easier for third party developers:

And please keep in mind: Non-rooted by default does not mean “un-rootable”. It’s only that i think this default setting would be more appropriate for most users! It should definitly stay possible to root the phone, at least when using AOSP but it would be almost certainly possible anyway.

Even it should read "drops root by default, i completely disagree: What is special about the Fairphone is NOT mainly the software but production and sourcing of materials. That is what sets Fairphone apart, not the lack of Google Apps or root. This has been that way for the FP1 and will be the same for the FP2. Have a look at what Fairphone says about the next Fairphone, especially the “four key action areas (mining, design, manufacturing, life cycle)”. Software is not mentioned here directly, and that is for a reason: It is important only regards to design and life cycle impact. That, in my point of view, is not related to root or not nor Gapps or not.

I do not know if we have such insight into Fairphones user/support base to make or support such claims.

I did not get that at first, but if i understand you correct, you this should describe a rooted phone without Gapps vs a non rooted phone with Gapps. But it is not 100% correct i think: The catch is, installing Google Apps does not limit you to install apps from other sources. You can still download apps manually (any apk on the internet), install competition app stores like Amazons or use a Free Software repository like F-Droid. And, Google Apps work fine on rooted phones as well as phones with unlocked bootloader as thousands of users having Google Apps on their Fairphone like me or CyanogenMod phones can confirm. This is simply not related to the Google Apps

Because they do much more than an App. The Google Applications dig deep into the system as they provide additional services like app installation and updates without user interaction via the Play Store, locating and remote deleting a stolen or lost phone or Google Cloud Messaging to support battery-efficient push messages.

Somehow it is, yet the web is still not there sadly or application and service providers sadly do not use mobile web pages to their full capabilities. This is sad and i would love to replace most apps with a webpage, but sadly we are not there yet! I agree this is the way it should be done!

Dear Paul, i very much enjoy your posts and you do a great job here, but this is simply FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Yes, technically Google could upload all your data to the cloud as we have no way to verify the sources of their proprietary apps. Microsoft could to the same with Windows as Apple with OS X and iOS and Blackberry etc.


Well maybe you are right and my example was plucked out of thin air, but believe me, I don’t “fear” Google, I loath them! :wink: I’m not scared that Google leaks my personal private information to the public, because I know they are just interested in Big Data Analysis; that’s where the money lies.
But let’s face it: if Google has the possibillity to collect more data from you the only thing that will stop them from doing so is if nobody will pay them for it.

And yes, Microsoft, Apple & Co are not better. But the silver lining is that if you only use one of the services of each big company, you give them less valuable data.
So you can have e.g. a Blackberry, an Apple Computer, use Google as a Search Engline, have a Yahoo Mail Adress and use Facebook and Skype and as long as you don’t also use Youtube (Google), OneDrive (Microsoft), iTunes (Apple), Thumbler (Yahoo) and WhatsApp (Facebook) or any of their other Services they all might not be able to collect enough data to know about every single aspect of your life! :smiley:


This is all well and good. An interesting strategy as well ;-). But to me, it is not a convincing reason not to preinstall the Google Apps :-). I still see far more benefits in using a more usual approach per default and provide an truly hackable alternative for others.

[quote=“ben, post:13, topic:5582”]
I did not get that at first, but if i understand you correct, you this should describe a rooted phone without Gapps vs a non rooted phone with Gapps.
[/quote]Not exactly. I was talking only about rooted vs unrooted phone there. And about some malware people reported refuse to run on rooted phone.
If gApps were like another App, I wouldn’t say much against it. But it’s not and you lose part of the control when you install it.

Ok, thanks for the clarification. I’ll take that as a very strong opinion for keeping the phone pre-rooted, even if that means some apps won’t run easily for some users, because the level of control coming with root is more important to you.

Your classification of these apps as “malware” is questionable, i am pretty sure we have different opinions on what malware is. for a german definition see the BSI, the Wikipedia says this:

Malware is defined by its malicious intent, acting against the requirements of the computer user, and does not include software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency

I am pretty sure neither those banking or security apps users complained about not running on the Fairphone nor Google apps can seriously be considered malware.


Thanks, @ben, for a well-written and stimulating post. You score quite a few points, and in my humble opinion the FP developers should really reflect on this.
Personally I do find google intrusive, but all the same I have the playstore installed and it would be difficult to manage without it. I want my bank’s app as well as apps from regional and national bus/rail operators. These apps can be found on various webpages too, but installing from uncertified places is probably much more insecure than getting them from the app store.
The fact that the FP is rooted hasn’t caused me any trouble - it has been an asset, however, allowing me to solve a few problems.
For me it would be OK if the FP came with the playstore preinstalled, provided it would be fairly easy to remove it. Or the other way round, as it is now, but in that case the process of getting access to the playstore must be much more straightforward and simple (lost access to the playstore is a recurrent issue here at the forum, a sure sign that the present solution is unsatisfactory).
It also makes sense to deliver the FP unrooted. But again, the root option must be on offer, and the rooting process should be an easy one - a ‘click here’ thingy that fixes everything.


[quote=“ben, post:17, topic:5582”]
Your classification of these apps as “malware” is questionable, i am pretty sure we have different opinions on what malware is. for a german definition see the BSI, the Wikipedia says this:
[/quote]A software, that forces the user to permanently lower the user control and the abilities of the OS, is by my definition acting against the requirements of the computer user. Unless you’re an Apple user, of cause. Reducing the user control and the OS abilities I can safely classify as damage to the OS.


Bank of America’s online banking app requires you to accept
microphones and cameras. McAfee called Bank of America and asked why
they require microphones and cameras. They replied that – if you emptied
all of the money in your account and said “it wasn’t me”, they could
check, and then say:

  • Well, it certainly looks like you. And it certainly sounds like you.

In order to do that, B of A’s app keeps your microphone and camera on for a half hour after you’ve finished your banking


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