Google for several years has collected app-usage data collected from Android phones to develop and advance its own competing apps, a new report alleges.
The project, called Android Lockbox, “collects sensitive Android user data” for use within Google and has been in effect since at least 2013, The Information reports.
Abuse such as this by platform vendors will continue to take place, and it will continue to get worse and more brazen, because governments and judicial systems simply aren’t designed to deal with the massive international nebulous webs of dozens of individual legal entities that make up a single company. They wield immense power, can spend infinite amounts of money to change any law they don’t like, and aren’t subservient to the people – i.e., the government – like they should be.
Either governments start drastically cutting these massive corporations up – divide and conquer – or the entire western world is at risk of becoming corporate dystopias.
Wouldn’t you know it, Al Gore invented the lockbox.
( I’m sure nobody remembers it, but anytime I hear “lockbox” it reminds me of this skit on SNL about al gore’s presidential debate a couple lifetimes ago
I have a couple of problems with the article.
Ultimately, there is no evidence that they are logging anything that isn’t legitimately related to understanding and optimising the use of Google services. Whether you agree with all the ways that they are using the data or not, they have a legitimate basis for collecting the data. That data can be used to provide a better experience whilst using third party apps.
Likening it to Facebook’s acquisition of Onavo is a false comparison. People expect to use a VPN to keep their activities secure – not to have the company providing the service spying on them.
The other issue I have is where they say “The data was used earlier this month in India, where Google planned to roll out a competitor app to TikTok.”.
What they failed to note is that TikTok had been banned in India at the end of last month. So putting / pushing a similar app in India is not in fact competing with TikTok – it is fulfilling a lost market. Of course, any app that gets a foothold in India has potential to take market share elsewhere – especially if there are more governments taking action against TikTok – and whether Google should be doing that or leaving it up to Indian competitors is another question.