Yet while some may call on Google to stamp
out such behaviour in its entirety and make its system more secure, others will
point to the data that Google collects itself and question why it needs it.
In March 2012, Google introduced a “unified
Google services into one. It is possible for Google to pick up information from
your email and search. It will know the websites you visit and the YouTube
videos you watch.
your Google Web History will be shared among all of the Google products you
It says that it keeps information you give
it such as your name, email address, telephone number or credit card. It will
retain your profile photo. It may also collect your hardware model and mobile
network information including phone number. And it says it will gather details
of how you use its services, such as your search queries, log in information
such as your phone number, calling party number, forwarding numbers, time and
date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
For some Android users, all of this may not
be a problem. After all, you will be looking at so much and doing lots online
that it would be very difficult to really intrude into your life without a
great deal of effort.
that it will share personal information with companies, organisations or individuals
outside of Google if the company has “a good faith belief that access, use,
preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to meet
any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental
But to who will it hand these details to
and how can we be truly sure that Google will be vetting the companies
sufficiently? Google says that this is to improve advert targeting. It also
says the information is used to provide, maintain, protect and improve its services,
develop new ones, and to protect Google and its users. It also uses this
information to offer you tailored content such as more relevant search results
and ads. And when you contact Google, it may keep a record of your
communication. Cookies are used to improve your user experience it says.
One user - privacy campaigner Alex Hanff
from Lancaster, was so annoyed that it prompted him to sue Google for the $640
users (try using Google Play without agreeing) and that it amounted to a
And yet millions upon millions use Google
every day. There is so much information out there on so many people that the
actual potential damage to an individual is extremely low and we would say it
does not have a major impact on your security.
What is clear is that you could be running
scared forever. As Android becomes more popular (and it shows no sign of
letting up), threats will remain.
Phones are taking on so many different
guises that the potential value of handsets is constantly rising. The data on
your phone is often far more valuable than the handset itself and new
technology can often throw up more problems than they resolve. It becomes a
trade-off between convenience and risk.
Ultimately, it comes down to common sense.
By taking your own precautions and thinking carefully about which applications
you install and what websites you visit on your device, you will be able to
limit the potential for damage. Using your Android phone should be a
pleasurable experience, and it is, but as with any computing experience, taking
responsibility for your own online welfare will make it even more fun in the
Antivirus app round-up
Decided you need antivirus? Here’s
our pick of the best
MY Android Protection
Pros: Protects against viruses, malware and
spyware in real time. Scanning is fast.
Cons: To perform a scan for the first time,
you are taken to a purchase prompt which could put some people off. Only the
first 30 days are free
Lookout Security & Antivirus
Pros: The in-built antivirus helps to
protect your phone from damaging malware and spyware. It has a backup facility
as a safety net too.
Cons: You have to pay for advanced features
such as safe browsing to block phishing and malicious websites located in text
Norton Antivirus & Security
Pros: The automatic antivirus scan protects
against threats and it also lets you scan your SD card. It aims to protect your
personal information and efforts to control your phone.
Cons: The web protection only works on the
default Android browser which will leave those using a different one in the
Control your Google life
What does Google know about you, and
how can you take back your data?
In a bid to be transparent and offer the
user control over the information Google has on individuals, Google Dashboard
offers a simple view into the data associated with your Google account. It
shows what Google knows about you and there is an opportunity to alter details
and delete them.
Do you have a blog with Blogger? Since it
is owned by Google, this is included in your Dashboard. You can edit the
profile and manage the blog.
This box appears when you ask for more data
stored about your device. The applications that are backed up on its servers
are shown and the last activity dates are clearly marked.
You can view any Android devices which you
have associated with your personal Google account.
The Manage options in blue let you
configure what you want Google to know about you.
Google Chrome will also store information
about you and inform Google about it. These include the number of bookmarks,
your preferences, themes and auto fill data. You can click ‘Stop sync and
delete data from Google’ if you want more privacy.
Sync Pro is a universal that works on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
The Calendar section shows the various
entries in your calendar and the number of calendars you have. These can be
Be aware that there are many Google
services from Blogger to Calendar to Chrome. And as you scroll down you will
find any printers connected to Cloud Print, your Contacts, documents, Gmail
information and more.