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Smartphone apps accessing your info when not allowed
Old 01-13-2022, 10:07 PM   #1
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Smartphone apps accessing your info when not allowed

My wife and I both use Android phones. Recently, my sister-in-law talked my wife into installing Viber on her phone. I have heard of this app, which allows you to talk to another Viber user by VOIP, but never bothered to install it.

In the process of setting up the Viber app on her phone, my wife got to a point where it asked to access her contact list. She asked me whether she should, and I said perhaps it was best to deny it for now, and to enable it later. So, she clicked on "No". Further down, Viber asked for her birthdate. At that point, she decided that the stupid app was too intrusive, aborted the set up and uninstalled the app.

One hour later, my sister-in-law called my wife, and said Viber alerted her that my wife was now accessible via the app.

What the hell! She already denied the contact list access, and aborted the setup. How the hell did Android let this app get to her address book?

This is a serious problem on the part of Google, or Samsung who makes the phone. This pissed me off royally.
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Old 01-13-2022, 11:39 PM   #2
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It seems to me that since your sister-in-law had already installed Viber and probably gave it access to her contact list (including your wife), that would be all it needs to notify her when your wife was installing it - no access to your wife's contact list required. It just jumped the gun and didn't wait until your wife aborted the setup.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:53 AM   #3
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^^^ Thanks. It is a plausible explanation, and I like it.

Viber knew my wife's phone number, and immediately looked her number up among its member list which may be in the billion and found the number among her SIL's phonebook. It then egged her SIL to contact her in order to entice her to sign up. So, Viber already knew the connection between SIL and my wife.

Once your number is out there, who knows how many databases it will end up being in. And that's why we get more and more spams and scams all the time, not just on our landline but our mobile phones are now also inundated.
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Old 01-14-2022, 11:06 AM   #4
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One time I started watching a video on my phone and decided to share it to my home email to watch it later on my computer. When I hit "share" it popped up a suggestion, "Share with Joe Jones." I thought, I don't know a Joe Jones. I know Joe Smith.

Now my contacts had Joe Smith in them and Joe (without a last name) because this Joe was not an ongoing friend but I had needed to save the number once and never deleted it. My curiosity got the best of me so I googled Joe Jones. First hit was a local bail bond company with Joe Jones' mug shot; Joe Jones was in the county lockup for DUI. Joe Jones was also the person I had in my contacts as just plain Joe.

While it was interesting to find out about Joe Jones' jail experience I don't think Google should have been serving up someone's last name*, especially when I wasn't even looking for it.

*Both names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.
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Old 01-15-2022, 08:12 PM   #5
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Android listens to what you are saying on the cell phone. There are youtube videos of this demonstration and if you say some key words like new truck, tv, home etc. you will start seeing ads pop up not only on the phone but on your pc and the tv set if connected with a network cable.

Google and Facebook and Twitter have a network of companies that share what you are doing.
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Old Yesterday, 03:42 AM   #6
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There is no anonymity (google your phone number or name/city). Phone numbers have replaced SSN as universal ID -especially for marketing (as long as your number isn't stolen -guard that PIN), at least there is 2FA associated with it for most "important" accounts.

I don't believe that phones are listening but they track a whole lot and the data mining/AI is so good it is creepy. Even searching on a computer I don't (or a guest on my wi-fi) can get me interesting ads as they are watching the IP addresses too. Heck, your smart TV tracks you too... read the TOS!

To try to hide would be a lot of work and eliminate a lot of convenience too. (and maybe not possible unless off grid completely but then you are still in a government database somewhere that will eventually spill) I don't worry much anymore about marketers tracking me other than guarding my ID from theft. I do limit what I provide if too intrusive and also salt data on sites/programs that ask NOYB questions.
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