Google Demonstrates That “Resistance Is Futile”
Google’s original motto was simple and straightforward, nothing more (nor less) than this”
“Don’t be evil”
But yesterday I ran into what I never thought I’d find at Google, a slippery slope covered with ice that was starting to accumulate, and a strong wind blowing as well.
My cell phone had been notifying me from early morning on that my attention was required for Google Play Services and I needed to take care of this. On inspection I found that among a few others, the (unrequested and unwanted) “Google Play Services” and a few related variants were in need of updating, so I clicked on one of them and as I’ve come to do lately, I stopped the process for a glance to see what the information it needed to get from me as part of the update operation.
A while ago I found that this is often a good thing to do instead of just reflexively clicking on the link to continue with every update that your phone requests, and I’ve been surprised at how many apps and games want to look at your contact list, your phones’ camera and microphone, your stored photos, your music, your call history, who your carrier is, what your location is, and a much, much more. Some of the requests are understandable and reasonable, but why does a game like solitaire need to know what photos and music I have stored in my phone? And, here’s the official list of what the mothership, Google itself, says that it needs to have access to: Device and App History, Identity, Contacts / Calendar, Location, SMS, Phone, Photos / Media / Files, Camera / Microphone, Wi-Fi Connection Information, Bluetooth Connection Information, Device ID and Call Information, and last but not least following a question mark, the all encompassing “Other”. The big question this begs is who is all this data being gathered for? Precision marketing to sell us crap, or the government data base?
And to make it clear, when you grant an app permission to use your camera, maybe its time to think about what you’re doing in the presence of your phone that perhaps you don’t particularly want to share with the world, i.e., what you’re doing with your bodily parts, or who it is that you’re doing it with (or to?).
I didn’t feel that I really needed to use this app so I passed on this chance to update Google Play Services and moved on, but much to my surprise only moments later Google upped their game. When I tried to use my phone I found that they had blocked my ability to log in to my gmail account to find a phone number until I did their update. I’ve always been aware that the “G” in gmail stood for Google, but this move took me by surprise, I didn’t know that they wanted to play what was called when I was in the service “Air Force Baseball”, i.e. “Play ball with us or we will shove this bat up your ass”. Important note, they didn’t offer me any lubricant with any of those upgrades that I was bent over and quietly persuaded to perform.
So, I tried a workaround and attempted to remove that application and a few others I felt were unneeded items, this is where I learned that on my Android phone not all apps are created equally, in fact some are untouchable. I had downloaded and installed a newsreader called “Flipboard” and found that it was protected and that I wasn’t allowed to uninstall it. Going past the dire warnings that my actions might make the phone unstable I moved on to try yet another workaround and deleted the cache and clicked on the remove prior updates (ones that I didn’t approve before) button and found that my choice after that action was limited to only revert to the original setup, which I had to do as there was no choice “B” offered. So, I exited this bogus offer and I find that once again my phone says I must update that app.
To paraphrase a line from the film “Alien”:
On the internet no one can hear you scream!
Additional information update!
Here we are a few days later (12-5-2014) and a new list of apps in need of updating has shown up on my phone. At the top of the list is the Bank Of America, an online site that I’ve been using for a few years with no problems. In this update they want me to give them access to my contacts / calendar, my location, my phone, my photos and media files, my camera / microphone, my Wi-Fi connection information and my Device ID & call information. Apparently, my left testicle is an optional gift for them that they don’t need (yet).
My go-to solution? So long B. of A., Hello U.S. Bank!
Hey!!! Additional Additional information update!!!
In the “it never ends” category, I received another batch of Google and Google related (Google the origin of Android phones) applications that must be updated, none of them are of any use to me, but they must be very helpful in the data mining procedure that has become the sine ne qua non of the Google empire. Yes, resistance may well be futile but much like those empires drone strikes, this will only strengthen the inevitable rebel rebellion.
N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of my own) belong to the material’s creator(s). As with Scott Adams, credit is given when it’s known. As always, success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan.
Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below this advisory, I don’t get to choose them and even more sadly, I don’t make a penny off any of them, so in the holy name of capitalism I rebuke and don’t endorse or support any of them, unless of course they’re made of funny stuff…..
P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….
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Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: "Don't be evil", A Learning Moment, a slippery slope, every update your phone requests, Flipboard, Going past the dire warnings, Google and Google related, Google Google's "Original Motto", Google Play Services, it never ends, like those empires drone strikes, many apps and games want to look at your contact list, nothing more (nor less) than this, on an Android phone not all apps are created equally, On the internet no one can hear you scream!, resistance may well be futile, simple and straightforward, the "G" in gmail stood for Google, the sine ne qua non of the Google empire, unless it's profitable, update, what you're doing with your bodily parts, what your location is, who it is that you're doing it with (or to?), who your carrier is, your call history, your music, your phones' camera and microphone, your stored photos.