Is there an under a hundred quid way of getting a modern smartphone that Google (or Apple) can't use to spy on me, without any messing about with jailbreaks or firmware flashing?
Undeterred by US boycotts, Huawei has pushed out a new range of Android smartphones without the Google software that usually comes with them. As is the case with the previous entrants in Huawei's P-series, the focus with the new P40 series is unabashedly on photography (pun absolutely intended), with the embattled Chinese tech …
Friday 27th March 2020 20:14 GMT Oh Homer
In a word, no
But you can do it for $749.00. In about 6 months time. Maybe.
But frankly, why bother?
The whole point of a smartphone is convenience. Take away the convenience and you might as well just go back to dumb phones. A phone without SafetyNet is basically useless to me. No banking apps, no Google Pay, hell even the bus timetable app refuses to run. I've tried hacks like Magisk but it's a game of leapfrog with Google and the banks, so ultimately it's a losing battle.
The top 3 apps I use are all Google: YouTube, Maps and Search, in that order. And BTW that's on both smartphones and the desktop. That, combined with SafetyNet restrictions, means I'm basically Google's bitch, so I may as well suck it up and let them compile whatever data they want on me. It's not like I'm going to die from a fatal case of "Google spying". In fact, as I sit here, I can't imagine a single negative consequence of allowing Google to know that I watched PewdiePie, listened to Eminem, then bought a USB cable on Amazon. What exactly could Google do to me armed with that data, that would in any way cause me harm?
So yeah, rooting and modding and hacking in general is an interesting exercise, and of course taking steps to protect yourself from genuine threats is essential, but this ain't one of them.
Sunday 29th March 2020 12:27 GMT Robert Carnegie
I doubt you can get "a modern smartphone" under £100 at all, never mind a "no sneaky spying" one.
Actually I'm pretty happy using my iPhone, but I usually have mobile data service, wi fi, and Bluetooth turned off. Bluetooth is at least intermittently hackable, and I thought I could rig wi-fi to connect only to my home network until I walked into somewhere that has BT "Wi Fi Extra" which also connects without user interaction. It is probably reasonably safe, but I don't want to have to decide whether to trust it, now and in future.
The main catch is that the bus season ticket app, which may well be tracking me, now and again expires my ticket because I'm not connected, so I have to log in and refresh the information. This has happened five minutes after checking that the ticket is there, so it's a case for checking twice before the bus comes, e.g. check in the lift leaving work, and check again at the bus stop.