back to article Privacy activist Max Schrems claims Google Advertising ID on Android is unlawful, files complaint in France

Privacy group noyb, founded by rights advocate Max Schrems, has instigated a new complaint about Google's use of the Android Advertising ID (AAID) to track users. Last November the European group filed a complaint to the German and Spanish data protection authorities concerning Apple's IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) on …

  1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Has this man no shame?

    Thanks to him the share prices of many major tech firms could be down and, worse still, executives may face the horrors of a reduced bonus.

    Has he no idea what havoc he may be wreaking?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Has this man no shame?

      (Assuming a hidden <sarcasm> tag in the above post...)

  2. Robigus

    Kudos to him

    That is all.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Kudos to him

      Well, not quite all. I have maintained my noyb membership even though we are longer in the EU.

      I am hopeful EU action against privacy pirates will spill over into benefits in non-EU markets as well.

      1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

        Re: Kudos to him

        Yet another example of Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

    Without a real market for paid software, all the software you get is create by other business needs. Android is a perfect example. It does exist only to sustain Google's ads business. And because Google can give it away for free, there's no market for a paid mobile OS that could sustain its development through sales. Only Apple is able to compete because it has a fashion devices division plus the store and ads revenues.

    Probably the only solution is to regulate strongly the ads business forbidding it to use the money to subsidize other products which are obviously developed to feed the main ads business itself from the gronud up. But people would complain because they would only see the need to pay for software while not being able to see the hidden costs of privacy invasion to sustain an invasive ads business model.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      The Linux kernel is free (in both senses) as are most distributions. Not to mention all the significant web servers bar IIS. (Using IIS is a clue that the empty suits are making technical decisions in my opinion.)

      There are other funding models than stalking.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

        For server-side software, probably. Google itself needs a server operating system it doesn't have to pay for, and of course, web servers. That's also true for Facebook, IBM, and others. Funding a common kernel is less expensive than having to develop it.

        The problem is for client-side software. Even with Linux the good product is the kernel and some server applications. The desktop part is the worse one, as its desktop applications.That's why even if free it went almost nowhere as a desktop operating system. If no real money can be made almost everybody is not interested.

        Android took the LInux kernel and had to design and add the whole GUI part and basic applications for a mobile phone, and that's expensive to develop. Nobody is going to invest money in another mobile OS, even if the kernel is there for free.

        See how even Microsoft took a lot of time trying to develop a different mobile OS and eventually failed because it wasn't enough to have user and developers switch.

        1. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

          Microsoft had a mobile offering long before the Linux based apple and Android offerings, it failed to make much progress because it was slow and bulky requiring expensive processors and memory that swallowed battery power. Symbian was there at the very beginning, a development of epoc32 it was very good for phones as it had a number of features specifically to help it for low powered low memory battery devices. The Linux kernel was not developed for this and frankly doesn't work well.

          Why did the android and apple systems get started? One has to suspect government involvement, the USaA now has an excellent way of spying on us all. Why did they make progress? I suspect again the USA government leaned on allies to get media promotion of it, they leaned on allies to hide the reasons. Of course Nokia was complicit in this, hiring an oaf with zero brains but the gift of the gab to act as CEO and to destroy the symbian OS even though it was making Nokia a shed load of money. Shareholders cocked up and didn't remove him, the lie was told, the damage done and not undone. Nokia is history, the only operating system not loaded with American spyware has gone by the board and the brainless gormless morons who don't understand that the world and freedom went to hell in a handcart 40 years back are still too stupid and I'll educated to think further than the next sexual adventure of their favourite film star.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

            WinCE had a bad UI but multi-touch displays didn't exist then. Battery consumption was not an issue - nor it required expensive processors. It did far more than Symbian could. Windows Phone was actually far lighter than Android. Both weren't free. PalmOS was there even before - but there were not the revenues to keep it alive. Than Nokia attempted too to build a Linux-based mobile OS that was good only for Linux fans wanting a bash shell on their mobile phone.

            You're obsessed with US spying - but that's just Google's spying for its own revenues. Then if the three letters agencies can take advantage of it too they will do. But Google really doesn't need their inputs, it's simply how it makes money, a lot of money.

          2. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

            > Microsoft had a mobile offering long before the Linux based apple and Android offerings,

            Apple's iOS isn't Linux based, it (like MacOS) descends from Darwin which itself descends from NextSTEP/BSD/Mach.

          3. idiot taxpayer here again

            Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

            @Dave 15

            Linux based Apple and Android? Really?

            I twigged that you are someone who is speaking out of their shitter when you wrote your last paragraph.

            Nokia telephones and Symbian o/s were dying before Elop (I think that was his name) moved in. He just put them out of their misery. Like it or not (and I don't) it has happened. Get over it

        2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

          "The desktop part is the worse one, as its desktop applications."

          Tell, what I am missing out at? Because I live under the illusion that I am missing nothing.

          1. Androgynous Cow Herd

            Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

            Well played. I too live in that illusion.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

              Yes, all the 4% of you....

              1. Adair Silver badge

                Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                Some people really are not sheep, and some people really do have work to do that depends on having the access and the freedom to use the system as they require, and some people actually do prefer to take the time and trouble to set up a system that works for them in the way they want/need, and some people just really appreciate the concept of 'freedom', and some people just like to be different.

                Loads of people do not have the time, the interest, the knowledge, or even just the simple awareness to do any of the above. And they are easy prey for the money grubbers - even if some of those 'easy prey' would do otherwise, but feel/find they have no choice but to go with the crowd, most of whom have no idea where they are going. All that matters to them is belonging to the crowd.

                Funny old world, and not a very nice place at times. Mostly because of greed rather than need.

                1. LDS Silver badge

                  Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                  Please stop this "freedom" blah blah. People using Windows or macOS are not slaves nor ignorant.

                  They are just people who need a tool to accomplish a job and use the best one they can find or afford. And don't want to spend a lot of time to build half baked solutions which just require more time to accomplish something and in a worse way, may not use devices needed to accomplish it, nor deliver the formats they need.

                  The real problem with Linux is that it looks too much like a religion - it doesn't help it at all. That's why a lot of desktop software and even hardware vendors stay away from it - the GPL too doesn't help at all. No money to be made and a lot of whiners about "freedom" who complain as soon as they see a program or a driver not fully open source.

                  "Money grubbers"? Are you paid for your work? Someone has to "grab" money somewhere to pay you.

                  1. Adair Silver badge

                    Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                    The very fact you write this shows you don't really understand what 'freedom' actually means, particularly in this context. Either that, or you really take 'freedom' so much for granted you don't understand what it means not to have it.

                    'Freedom' is not about denying 'Windows/OSX', and the parties behind such models of software creation and distribution, etc. a right to exist, or to be what they are. It is about such entities NOT having the right to 'own the field of play' to the extent that any alternative is oppressed or snuffed out - the old 'EEE' from the bad old days of MS, when they were in their pomp and at their most bullying.

                    'Money grubbers' always aim to 'own the market', i.e. 'maximise their profits' - that is what the game is all about. To do so requires the denial, or at least severe restriction, of any and all alternatives, especially anything that might seem to threaten the 'rules of the game'.

                    'Freedom', as in the freedom to use something according to our own lights, without fear of litigation, restriction of access, or monetary obligation offers choice. It doesn't insist that other choices are not allowed or viable. It simply insists that 'freedom' is also an essential choice - if the word is to have any useful moral meaning - and should never be removed from the 'field of play', i.e. human activity.

                    If someone can't cope with allowing others to create and distribute software on the basis of 'freedom' then they really need to understand what leads them to have such an oppressive and patronising view of what other people can and cannot do with stuff they create (or modify and pass on on the same basis).

                    1. LDS Silver badge

                      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                      No, you really don't understand what freedom means, when you imply there's only freedom in Linux. You're meaning of "freedom" is very much alike religions use it - you're "free" only inside the religion own view, otherwise you will be damned for all time....

                      Moreover as stated at the beginning of this thread - your "freedom" puts software development into the hands of a few ginormous companies who pay developers to develop the software they need to maximize *their* profits only, since profits no longer depend on fulfilling customer needs, since customers don't pay it, and often no longer have choices, and most capable developers like to maximize their profits too.

                      So you get Android with all its slurping features baked in. And nobody will ever release a fork free of them and with all the required apps to be usable, because there's no money to be made. But of course you're happy because you say "freedom" but you mean "gratis".

                      And isn't GPL too a source of litigation and restriction of access? It's not a way to maximize profits keeping money instead of spending them buying software?

                      1. Jamesit

                        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                        Freedom in this case means that you can modify the software however you want to since the source code is available.

                        The four freedoms are:

                        The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

                        The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as   you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

                        The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).

                        The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing   this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          @Jamesit - Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                          I always wandered who is against these basic freedoms and especially why are they against them ? I'm sure LDS would be able to enlighten us on this matter.

                          1. Jamesit

                            Re: @Jamesit - That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                            I've wondered that too.

                        2. LDS Silver badge

                          "Freedom in this case means that you can modify the software"

                          Yes, another blah blah. "The Four Freedoms"! "The Ten Commandments"! "The Ninety-five Theses"!

                          Religion. Again.

                          99% of user doesn't care about modifying the software - they pay it because they need someone skilled to take care of their needs without having to learn how to code and having to build the infrastructure to build and test it.

                          And still they run the program as they wish for their purposes, otherwise they would have not bought it. They are not interested to study how the program works internally. They need it to work. That's why the pay developers to make it work. Most of them would never really understand how it really works - not their field of knowledge. And there's plenty of books and other material that explain what you need to know without having to peruse at someone else's work and exploit it.

                          And then... drum roll... the freedom of NOT PAYING software which is ALL YOU CARE OF!!!!

                          So get your free Android with all the slurping baked in. You won't be able to modify it and install on your phone anyway, and even if you're skilled enough to do it, it will be mostly useless... do you feel really free?

                          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                            Re: "Freedom in this case means that you can modify the software"

                            No, it is you who doesn't get it - even when it's been explained several times to you.

                            If free and open software didn't exist, then MS would probably still "own" the desktop - and Internet Exploder would probably still be "the one and only web browser", yada, yada, yada. Yes, I know things have changed, but lets stay in the context for a moment.

                            We've seen exactly how things work when one player has too much control of a market - and if the players have similar interests, it can work when there are 2 or more dominant players as well. Microsoft of the 80s and 90s was dead against standards - because standards allow the user choice, and user choice means you don't own them (hence why MS put so much effort into knobblinng Open Document Standards). We saw exactly what that meant when MS was at it's peak - blatant abuse of it's position so that users did not have choice. So you say that users have freedoms - they choose to use Windows because it works for them. Well that's a false argument - in a truly free environment that would be a valid argument, but it still isn't because MS still has significant market dominance on the desktop. In the corporate world, people use Windows because MS has engineered it so that it's "difficult" not to. In a free world, many of those businesses would still use Windows, but at the moment many use it simply because it's "too hard" not to - because MS's dominance from the 80s and 90s has still not been adequately reigned in.

                            Let me give you a specific case ... How many alternatives are there to running a Windows server to run your network of Windows desktops ? Can't think of many ? Perhaps you can't think of any ? That's because when there were alternatives, MS used dirty tricks to kill off any competition. Once they had near 100% control of the Windows server market, they were then able to leverage that to make it really hard to use non-Windows desktops - or at the very least, distort the market in their favour. This isn't conjecture, they were found guilty of it and that's why they were eventually forced to document their network protocols and make that documentation available on a fair basic to anyone. But because their position was so entrenched, they still have that dominant position today.

                            So one of the freedoms people talk about is that they can choose to run (say) a Windows server, or they can choose to run a different server and still have the network work. That way, MS have to compete and provide something that people think it's worth paying for, rather than provide the most rubbish crap they think they can get away with given that many people don't really have any choice.

                            And that sort of freedom only happens if there's a working marketplace with multiple viable offerings. And that's why the likes of MS, and now Google, and Amazon, all put so much effort into blocking that free market as much as they can get away with - and they have got away with a lot of illegal activities because authorities around the world have been far too slow to take action. Unfortunately, by the time action is taken, and in particular any corrective measures imposed, the damage is already done - typically the competition has long since gone out of business.

                  2. Adair Silver badge

                    Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                    BTW, 'money grubber' has nothing to do with 'earning a living' - we all have to do that. It describes those who value money before everything else, and who are never satisfied. Enough is never enough, more is always better, regardless of who gets trampled into the dirt in the money grubber's greedy quest for more.

                  3. RyokuMas Silver badge
                    Stop

                    Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                    "That's why a lot of desktop software and even hardware vendors stay away from it..."

                    I recall the brief foray I made into Linux - I'll admit that this was a good few years ago now, but in my attempt to set up an old spare tower PC I had at the time, I ended up with a very expensive doorstop.

                    Naturally, I hit the internet trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. The response I got was largely unhelpful and in many cases insulting: I haven't bothered since.

                    1. Adair Silver badge

                      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                      I'm sorry for your bad experience, but you really shouldn't give up so easily. Mind you a bricked PC isn't encouraging.

                      However, I'll trade your anecdotal evidence for mine: I finally wiped Windows from my hard drive at home in 2006, having been muddling around with Linux for two or three years prior to that. I have never had reason to regret the decision. I have never managed to brick a machine. I gave up distro-hopping some years ago. Maybe it's age, or experience, or both, plus lack of time, but now I just want to get on with work and the stuff I like to do. The box and the system on it are just tools. I've learned to use the tool to my satisfaction, and I've not been disappointed by developments (jury still out on systemd!) over the following fifteen years.

                    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                      "an old spare tower PC I had at the time, I ended up with a very expensive doorstop"

                      Almost by definition something that's old and spare is no longer expensive as you'd already written off its value. And if you'd kept the Windows distribution disk (or did you transfer the licence to another machine) you'd have been able to reinstall it.

                      1. RyokuMas Silver badge

                        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                        "Almost by definition something that's old and spare is no longer expensive as you'd already written off its value"

                        It was being chucked out by the company I was working for at the time; it was about three years old. At the time, I was trying to get my finances back int the black after a year out of work and two more in the most disasterous work-from-home position, so any PC was expensive.

                        ... and, of course, they had thrown out the distribution disk...

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          @RyokuMas - Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                          Three years old you say ?

                          I have a venerable Dell Latitude D630 close to 15 years old that is running Linux quite nicely (I admit I've maxed memory and replaced HDD for SSD).

                          But hey, I'm not going to stop you from running Windows if that's best for you.

                          As for Linux support on the Internet, I personally don't find it way behind the support for Windows.

                    3. LybsterRoy

                      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                      Recent experience:

                      I tried a couple of years ago to install Mint 18 on an ASUS 11.6" notebook (originally Windows 8) - couldn't due to grub and it needing 32bit whilst the cpu is 64bit. Anyway a Windows update bricked it and I bought an Arka 11.6".

                      I have fairly easily installed Mint 20 on there. I have some programs I've written (Delphi) that I want on it and they run quite well under Wine.

                      The reason I'm still running W10 on it is the UI. I'm sure its possible but I can't find a way to give myself reasonable size (ie readable) characters and especially system icons on each form that can be seen without the aid of a microscope. An ancillary reason is that I have no indication that a program has started, especially those running under Wine and I get a little impatient occasionally and click the icon again ending up with multiple instances.

                      This particular machine's main purpose in life is to look things up whilst watching TV so its not in a demanding role, however, Windows 10 (much as I hate it) is so much more pleasant to use than Mint that its no contest.

                      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

                        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                        > Windows 10 (much as I hate it) is so much more pleasant to use than Mint that its no contest.

                        Matter of taste, I use W10 for remote teaching since 2020 and boy, how I hate it.

                        Try finding and configuring a window-manager (or desktop) that you like, there are tons to try.

                  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                    "They are just people who need a tool to accomplish a job and use the best one they can find or afford."

                    I seem to spend a lot of time these days putting together various PDFs including the weekly one for my wife's patchwork group* and the more occasional but bigger ones from our history group's out of print books**. I've no idea what Windows & Mac software would be would do or cost but in all cases final assembly is done by the simple pdfunite, image manipulation by Gwenview, Gimp, Pinta and Kolorpaint as required, OCR of scanned pages*** with ocrmypdf****. Vi is the tool of preferences for sorting out the OCR artefacts although sed would be an alternative. QGIS handles occasional mapping work. LibreOffice, of course does the word processing and spreadsheets and conversion to PDF. I seriously doubt that I could find a more useful set of tools for any amount of money whether I could afford it or not.

                    * SWMBO does her illustrated notes by hand, rather like that old book on BASIC, I do the photography. NextCloud syncs the results between our laptops, both of course, running Linux.

                    ** The PDFs produced for the printers with whatever tools were used there are far too big. I discovered that Word lies when it "crops" images. The .docs were bloated by masked by uncropped images, in one case multiple copies. From LibreOffice it was a case of Edit with external program using Gwenview to crop and reduce the resolution.

                    *** The scanner on my Brother AIO saves PDFs to an ancient Buffalo NAS which I assume runs an ancient Linux, otherwise I'd point it at the Pi running NextCloud on a more recent Linux.

                    ****The inevitable OCR layout curdling resulting from the image not being precisely aligned for scanning is dealt with by a tool I knocked up years ago using Lazarus to deal with the same problem in downloads from archive.org. I could have used Delphi for that. I last used Delphi about the same time as I last used MS Office - about 14 or 15 years ago.

                    1. LybsterRoy

                      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                      "I seriously doubt that I could find a more useful set of tools for any amount of money whether I could afford it or not."

                      I would wager that you could find an equivalent toolchain for Windows for free IF you were prepared o spend as much time looking for it as you probably did to find this one.

                    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                      Pint

                      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

                      Thanks, your entire comment is now in my folder for useful bits of knowledge.

                      For "OCR layout curdling" you might want to try "unpaper".

          2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

            Damnit, all these years and this desktop and applications have been unusable.

            And I thought that only happened at work, where I had to suffer Windows?

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

            "Tell, what I am missing out at?"

            All the BSODs. Surely you miss those (like a hole in the head).

        3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

          "If no real money can be made almost everybody is not interested."

          It's not that people aren't interested. But they have to pay the bills.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

          There is also the issue of a stable hardware base, e.g., a modem. The hardware base for various Linux flavors is fairly stable - that's not the case for mobile.

        5. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

          Ah, another opportunity to point out that Gnome 3 is utter shite.

          As you were.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      From my point of view, I have to buy a phone that needs an OS, if the phone comes with an OS, as far as I am concerned I have paid for the OS at the same time I bought the phone.

      I have little choice so from my point of view the OS is not free, the phone maker may not pay Google directly for it but the cost of it being loaded to the phone is also built into the phone price. So again, it is not free for me and I don't see that Google or anyone else has the right to invade my privacy.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "From my point of view"

        From yours, but not the device makers. They face the choice of writing their own mobile OS ($$$$$$$$$$), buy one ($$$) or use Google's "free" one ($0). With very thin margin, the choice is obvious. You're just paying the device, not the software.

        Of course Google has no right to invade your privacy, but the problem is Google makes it free exaclty because it wants to invade your privacy. And this way it also undercuts any other attempt to develop a competitor mobile OS - unless someone with enough cash from another business attempts the same - but as no one is a charity, even that OS would come with its poisoned pill.

        1. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: "From my point of view"

          Symbian cost very little and didn't have such baggage. Further you could run with less memory, a cheaper processor and smaller battery while maintaining better user performance.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: "From my point of view"

            And it did very little compared to other mobile OS of the time. PalmOS too was far better than Symbian...

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      Errr. Nice try but no.

      How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?

      To be clear all your points are valid on their own merits but conflating them with free software is dubious at best.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

        Apple is not silly, it does make money collecting data and selling ads placements to advertisers as well and not leave that business to others (see its "privacy" new rules...." all your data are belong to us and only us"), just it's not its main business, and even if it makes less money than Google from ads it has so large profits it can still invest in OS development.

        But Apple is the only phone manufacturer with real high margins from its device sales. If Apple started to sell iOS, I don't think manufacturer would buy it over the free Android - but maybe for very high-end devices with high margins.

        Apple could probably remove its ID and survive, Google won't spend money in Android without getting data back. Yet Android became the dominant mobile OS because it's free, and nobody really want to invest to build a different OS when margins are very low. But Huawei, of course, but just because forced to. Just look at where they are, though - while still able to start from what of Android is open source. Only Microsoft had the resources to attempt it, but utterly failed - and still it had its Ads ID as well, too tempting...

        1. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

          I think you have to look no further than both are USA companies and the USA is the biggest, basest,dirtiest, sneakiest spy outfit the world has ever seen. Snowdon showed a small tip of a huge berg and has been silenced.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @LDS - Re: "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

          Correction: Microsoft still has advertizing ID in Windows 10. You can disallow applications to use it for targeting advertizing. For now.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: @LDS - "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

            Yes, I was using the past tense because I was referring to Windows Phone which is now dead.

            MS too made a U turn and made Windows 10 a slurping OS as well - after all Google was so successful that without rules to stop the privacy invasion everybody followed.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @LDS - Re: @LDS - "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

              But Microsoft has never offered a free OS so why do they have to resort to slurping ? Last time I checked they were making insane amounts of money selling their software. Google gave something for free in order to grab our personal information so now are you going to tell us Windows 10 is free OS ?

              1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: @LDS - @LDS - "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

                MS wants more. Remember how they “accidentally” updated people to SlurpOS 10?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @LDS - @LDS - "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

                  It isn't MS that wants more... it is Wall St.

                  EVERYTHING a company with a Wall St stock ticker does is because of expectations set or predicted by Wall St. Every 90 Days, companies have to report how well they are doing w.r.t. those expectations.

                  It is all about Stockholder value.

                  Companies will do anything they can to better the expectations of Wall St. That way the 'C' level execs can walk away with even more money thanks to their stock options.

                  Money, money, money. Wanting too much of it and right now Is the root pretty well all evil.

                  1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

                    Re: @LDS - @LDS - "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

                    Although that is true, you can't just blame Wall St. for the poor decisions companies make. Plenty of companies take their customers for granted, make bad products, lose money, and are punished.

                    And Wall St. is perfectly capable of appreciating companies/brands that make money by offering premium services, that the rich will pay for. Think about 5-star+ hotels, SoHo Farmhouse, Ferrari, Patek Philippe. And even some in-between such as Mercedes, BMW and Apple.

              2. LDS Silver badge

                Re: @LDS - @LDS - "How do you explain almost the exact same feature in iOS?"

                Windows 10 was mostly free. Most previous versions could be update for free, and still could. Selling Windows copies is no longer the main business model. Windows too became an advertising bridgehead.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      It's not about the software costing nothing, it's about the true price of using the software (eg. surrender of one's privacy) being intentionally hidden from the customer.

      If eg. phone purchasers were offered a choice:

      a) Have all your usage, location, purchase history, sexual preferences, etc. tracked 24/7 and stored indefinitely.

      or

      b) Pay $10 extra

      We may see a market for paid mobile OSes start to develop.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "We may see a market for paid mobile OSes start to develop."

        Are you sure? And you wrote $10 - which may be not the price. If it was $49? $99? $199? There are people who download and install cracked software from unknown sources to save that, with a great risk to be p0wned and give miscreants far more personal data and money.

        Probably like once people complained about PCs with Windows preinstalled it's time to complain about phones with Android pre-installed (and much harder to remove than Windows...) and let people choose from different OSes. But just like people choose Windows because Linux (desktop) has no enough applications people are used to, most people would install Android anyway.

        1. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: "We may see a market for paid mobile OSes start to develop."

          Symbian was only 10 dollar in small quantity, any decent numbers and it was cheaper, s the phone companies jointly owned it then it actually cost them all less than the ticket price. More over as it required less processor, battery and memory to deliver the same speed or better of user experience it made a cheaper phone possible.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "We may see a market for paid mobile OSes start to develop."

          How about we make that paying for a specific service such as email? In that case, yes. I pay for a domain and for someone to provide an email service for that domain. It gives me the freedom to choose not to use an ISP email address and hence to change ISP if I wish and also freedom from having my activity tracked by "free" email providers.

          I need to have a gmail address as the system ID for my Android phone. It's actually a garbage address with no meaningful personal ID attached - and now Google seem to want me to provide its profile with a date of birth on "legal" grounds. The legality of that demand seems to be negative under GDPR.

          1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            I pay for a domain ...

            Ah, and here's another dirty little rabbit hole -- Nominet.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

        Except Google would take your $10 and still steal your data.

    5. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      There is a market for paid software because their is a market for the devices. The software is part of the BOM, the cost of porting is not insignificant but is also divided over the production as part of the BOM. The truth is the USA wants to spy on people and Google/apple are their tools. This is why they got upset by a Chinese firm on the infrastructure because it would have made spying difficult. The EU and UK both bend us over and bare our collective arses for the USA which probably goes part way to how the backhanders are allowed to work so well in terms of media publicity in favour of this spyware

    6. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      Android is free but the Google platform that goes along isn't, manufacturers need to buy a licence from Google to install Gmail, Google Maps and the Google Play store - collectively called Google Mobile Services - so Google is already getting their money from users/customers. Every additional penny is just a bonus.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "manufacturers need to buy a licence"

        Manufacturers need to obtain a license - which come with additional terms to hinder any real competition on Android. I don't know if Google charges money for it - it's still just a way to ensure the only real useful Android is controlled by Google.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @LDS - Re: "manufacturers need to buy a licence"

          Same as Windows then. Nothing new here, this is how end-users had been offered a choice between different OS.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: @LDS - "manufacturers need to buy a licence"

            Windows never came with Google services licenses restrictions. MS had to resort to "hidden" tactics to hinder competition.

            But it's true Android is the new Windows, and Google the new Microsoft.

        2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: "manufacturers need to buy a licence"

          So there is no freedom, other than Hobson's choice.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      You don't get the phone that runs Android for free. The phones might cost a bit more without the Google contribution but the underlying co-operative development model of Linux would still minimise that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

        And without Android the phone is next to useless.

    8. sketharaman

      Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

      Free versus Paid software is a too simplistic argument. There are so many free alternatives to Windows, still Windows has 85% market share of desktop OS market.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: That's what you get when software has to cost nothing

        Just because Windows took its advantage when there was no real free alternatives.

        While Linux can't really develop a business model for appealing desktop applications that can compete with Windows and macOS. A situation that Google was careful to avoid with Android. Yet Google has no incentive to fund Linux desktop applications development - they would just took away users from its online service where it can spy them.

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    While we're here...

    "the complainant was never requested such consent, neither during the first setup of the system, nor at a later stage"

    Can we also smack on the head the idea of degraded functionality if the user refuses permission?

    My work committee has set up a fancy new website using AdvanGO. When you try to sign up, it offers the usual options to opt out (note, not opt in) to lots of tracking. So a sensible person unticks all of this. To then find that the site refuses to progress without having all this crap ticked, with the message "Merci d'accepter les cookies afin d'accéder au formulaire d'inscription". That pretty much makes giving the consent option utterly meaningless theatre.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: While we're here...

      That practice is already illegal under GDPR. You might want to point that out to your employer.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        No need. Just file a complaint under GDPR. I think you'll find that things will change quickly (for an administrative definition of "quickly").

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: While we're here...

      Yes, there's also the issue you can do very little until you create a Google account (and maybe one with the phone maker too....). And all of them makes very difficult if not impossible to backup and sync data locally and not with their motherships.

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: While we're here...

      "Can we also smack on the head the idea of degraded functionality if the user refuses permission"

      It was smacked on the head ages ago. Document 17/EN WP259 of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party entitled Guidelines on Consent under Regulation 2016/679 (Adopted on 28 November 2017) includes the following:

      3.1.4. Detriment

      The controller needs to demonstrate that it is possible to refuse or withdraw consent without detriment (recital 42). For example, the controller needs to prove that withdrawing consent does not lead to any costs for the data subject and thus no clear disadvantage for those withdrawing consent.

      [...]

      If a controller is able to show that a service includes the possibility to withdraw consent without any negative consequences e.g. without the performance of the service being downgraded to the detriment of the user, this may serve to show that the consent was given freely.

      Note the "may serve" - this is a minimum requirement. The problem is simply that nobody is taking any notice, mainly because the prospect of any significant penalty is vanishingly small.

    4. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: While we're here...

      Yes, not the only website. Banners covering half the screen with no way to opt out or on one site a list of 1000 or more boxes and switches are taking the piss. The BBC itself is just as damned bad, you can't say no to their cookies, you can see their policy but can't say no! Thus is not what the EU can have meant. I think it is time for the EU to run a site where you can reply these things, when you do the owner of the site should face billion dollar dines and multi year jail sentences.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: While we're here...

        And that is what people like TrustArc and EnTrust and all the other US shysters who run these screens on behalf of companies (and the ad industry) bank on... the fact that you *don't* want to untick or tap tens or hundreds of boxes/sliders and just accept already... and that they can point the EU Data Commissioner at it saying "well, they agreed to it, look!"

        There's the 'legitimate purpose' thing that many companies use for tracking too. You have to click on 'Object' or 'Object to all' to stop the tracking, only for them to try it again next time.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: The BBC itself is just as damned bad

        Well hey, you've taken back control. Deal with it.

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: While we're here...

      That goes counter to the GDPR. I suggest you have your genius lawyers look at it again. If there is one item that is required, then mark it as required and not unselectable, everything else that's optional is... optional.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    However...

    Almost all the enforcement activity relating to data subject rights (as opposed to "data breaches") seems to be focused on the behemoth corporations, which frankly don't give one hoot (let alone two) about it as they can outspend any challenger and carry on pretty much regardless. When we researched compliance with the GDPR across a wide range of verticals and organisation scales, we found that practically no organisation is complying with the requirements relating to even the most basic data subject rights, so the problem is vastly more serious than suggested by a few highly publicised slaps on the wrist to the giant antisocial networks and the like. Let's not forget that, despite the good intents and the razzmatazz surrounding the cases, so far every penalty awarded to these behemoths has been negotiated down to coffee money on appeal. What's needed is generalised corporate culture change, and that will only happen via assured high probability of getting caught regardless of organisation scale.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: However...

      While I agree with basically everything you say, I can't see that happening any time soon.

    2. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: However...

      Corporations need to be punished proportionally to both the severity of the offense and the vigor of their defense against the charge.

      "You can appeal this judgement if you like, but the appellate court is a hostile one and will only rule in your favor if they find prosecutorial misconduct or some serious flaw in the facts of the prosecution. And if you appeal and lose, your penalties will be multiplied."

  6. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Worth noting

    While the anti British BBC shamelessly promoted iPhone even telling fat lies about it being the first smartphone and the great celebrations on Android that Europe had its own smartphone operating system. This was symbian. It did not collect or share (as it had not collected) tracking information for anyone. It ran for more than a week without charge (still does on my old phones). It provided a series of classes (it was c++) for handling strings which did not overflow, it had a system for handling the inevitable issues with out of memory. It also managed it's 'disc' writes in such a way you couldn't lose your whole phone due to a power issue at 'the wrong time' (something my crappy android has done twice now resulting in total factory start and days sorting out multifactor passwords and other accounts.

    Shame the unwashed illiterate masses don't have a clue so are led by marketing lies and Medi interest driven by the inevitable back handers

    1. Graham 32

      Re: Worth noting

      the great celebrations on Android that Europe had its own smartphone operating system. This was symbian.

      Cannot parse. It could make sense if "on Android" were deleted.

    2. JDPower666

      Re: Worth noting

      Marketing works though. Apple and Google spent a fortune on it and made vast strides, Symbian barely spent a penny and in comparison became an unknown irrelevance. For Symbian to have competed they would almost certainly have had to go down the exact same ad focused route as the others simply to fund their competitiveness.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Worth noting

        There's an entirely different way of looking at this.

        An OS is simply a part of a computing device. Without one the device is incomplete. A vendor can develop their own, buy it in or, as a middle way, develop one in collaboration with other vendors. Developing their own was, of course, the original way of doing things.

        The OS can be supplied to the purchaser by various means. It could be licences as a one-off payment as part of the original package. It could be leased. It could be a mixture of initial payment with an optional support contract. It could be ad-supported. And, of course, the collaborative development approach* has enabled the free download of Linux and the BSDs inter alia.

        It would have been feasible for smartphone manufacturers to have got together to develop a Linux distro which could have been provided to their customers as part of the one-off payment for the device. However Google has managed to divide and conquer them with its own Linux distro at the ongoing expense to their customers of eternal slurping.

        *If you look carefully you'll find that H/W makers such as Intel contribute a lot of Linux development so in fact one-off payment as part of the the H/W applies even if you run some other OS. We Linux users thank you Windows users for your contributions.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "feasible for smartphone manufacturers to have got together to develop"

          We all know how that kind of "committee" usually ends. Taligent, anyone? And it was Apple/IBM/HP - all companies with strong roots in software development too - not just mostly hardware makers.

          Some of them tried - but that require a deep investment, strong focus, and being able to manage a large, complex software project. It's not just the kernel, it's the whole OS up to the basic applications.

          Really, only Microsoft was able to deliver an alternative, and it was too late and too little too - Windows Phone wasn't still on par with iOS and Android.

          There was a time when the OS was strictly tied to the hardware it run on - it looks we're getting back to those time. The OS is there just to sell something more profitable.

  7. Jim Birch

    There's an implicit agreement here. Google provides a lot of free stuff then makes money from advertising to you based on how you use their services. People are biologically programmed to love free stuff. Micropayment systems that could eliminate advertising have not caught on, have they?

    If this succeeds, you'll need to explicitly accept the agreement to access website and services. Good and bad, I guess. I doubt that many people would actually opt out. If they were that way inclined, they have probably done so already.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Jim Birch - If you're so sure about this

      how comes nobody loves opt-in ?

      And we should stop associating the word "free" with Google's offer. Google makes money from digital marketing companies which make money from companies that want to advertise their products and who will naturally transfer the cost of advertising to customers buying their products. Yes, we don't pay directly to Google but they don't get all that money out of thin air. Just follow the circuit from our pockets to Google's pockets.

  8. msobkow

    You consented by buying the device from a known advertising shill, dude. Get over it, and grow up. There ARE alternatives if you don't like Apple or Google products.

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Like what?

      "There ARE alternatives if you don't like Apple or Google products..."

      Like what, exactly? In this day and age, it's almost expected that people have smartphones. It's kind of like the argument "you don't have to use Google on the web" - except that the vast majority of pages implement Google Analytics...

      The last real "alternative" that (eventually) provided most of the tools that iOS and SpyOS do was Windows Phone... and look at the reception that got!

    2. Richtea

      Name an alternative mobile OS that is trusted by banks.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Personally, I don't trust banks trusting a mobile OS.

  9. arobertson1

    This is so Googlish...

    I don’t think anyone cares about the share holders and to be honest I’m not sure that argument would stand up if you replaced Google with [tobacco company] share holders - nobody would care about those share holders if tobacco was made illegal overnight.

    As for Android, let’s not forget that Google bought Android in 2005 - prior to that it was just an open source project. The fact that the name Android has become synonymous with Google is only because the Google apps come pre-installed with Android and people are used to it. You can actually use Lineage where there are no Google apps and it still runs on Android. In other words Google modified it to suit themselves. The same is true with ChromeOS - it’s Gentoo Linux with Google modifications on top. Then there’s DoubleClick, again acquired by Google in 2008. Are you starting to see a common theme?

    Google has deliberately inserted itself between internet users and the content providers in a very manipulated attempt to try and extract (a lot) of money out of people using the internet and those supplying content, services and products, and yet it doesn’t have to be this way... There are alternatives if you care to think them through:

    Have you ever tried to block ads using DNS with Youtube? Good luck - it won’t work. Why? Because they are supplying the ads on their own servers. In order to block the ads you would also end up blocking Youtube content which defeats the purpose (if you use DNS blocking). The reason why it works with other websites using DNS is because those other websites use content from external advertising servers, and if you block those ad servers then it does not also block the main content of their website. In other words if the people who host websites used their own ads from their own website then DNS blocking would fail to work. This also has the added advantage that you’re not being tracked from website to website which also addresses the privacy issues that the current model of advertising Google has. It’s not the ads that are wrong, it’s the tracking between sites that’s wrong. This would also cut Google out of the advertising model which is why they oppose it strongly, however it would make for a better, safer, and more private internet. Content providers would also have to become responsible for the ads they were showing - no more third party finger pointing.

    So how would Google make their money? Well, let’s look at the chain: Your laptop / phone -> your ISP / phone carrier -> Google -> content websites. Clearly welding extra money on phones for development of Android isn’t going to be favourable with users, and if websites are hosting their own ad’s then Google wouldn’t make money, so... Your ISP or phone carrier could pay a percentage of how much they charge the end user for Google services (and other companies) based on usage. What’s wrong with that? That way the phone manufacturer gets paid, the ISP / carrier gets paid, Google gets paid, content providers get paid and more importantly we get to keep our privacy. It would cost more but I consider this a price worth paying if I don’t end up with the metaphorical equivalent of the creepy dude down the road following me around everywhere or coming home to find them rummaging through my underwear drawer and cataloguing it!

    Okay I realise this is a simplistic model and there are probably anomalies all over the place, but surely it has to be better than the tracking / spying / phishing / malware / badware / ransomware / malicious / spam / annoying / crypto mining / porn / privacy invading ads that we have today?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: This is so Googlish...

      "Have you ever tried to block ads using DNS with Youtube?"

      What adverts? I guess mistake number one is to use the YouTube app...

      As for all the rest, yes, Google have inserted their tentacles just about everywhere (even more than Facebook). Good luck finding a bit of the internet that is functional and doesn't refer back to the mothership in some manner. And there lies the problem.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This is so Googlish...

      "Clearly welding extra money on phones for development of Android isn’t going to be favourable with users"

      Go back to your 2nd paragraph. Android was and OS project before Google took it over - and they still have to make the kernel OS because of GPL. If the smartphone manufacturers had chosen to collaborate in developing it - as, for instance, Intel has with the kernel - they could have provided themselves with a GPL core. It would still have raised the problem of non-collaborating manufacturers trying to use it so they'd need to have added a non-GPL collaborative userland. Of course the costs would have been added to the purchase cost but spread out over many of millions of units and wouldn't favour one make over another.

      TL:DR It didn't have to have turned out as it did.

  10. heyrick Silver badge

    "It would cost more but I consider this a price worth paying if I don’t end up with the metaphorical equivalent of the creepy dude down the road following me around everywhere"

    I think that's a statement born out of idealism. In reality, it'll cost more and you'll get the creepy dude following you.

    Why?

    Because they can.

    Or, more specifically, there's no law with actual penalties that says they cannot.

    Until it is clearly unlawful and bosses risk jail time (not just MASSIVE FINES! that about to about a tenth of a second of profit), it'll happen and it'll keep happening and there will be loophole abuse and "oops, this was an unauthorised action by our YTS trainee" excuses.

    Privacy? They've heard of it. They're just hoping that we haven't.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      You won't see change like that until SHAREHOLDERS risk jail time.

  11. StrangerHereMyself

    Low impact

    I wouldn't exactly claim that his actions had huge impact. Privacy Shield was suspended but will eventually be replaced by something that looks very much like...Privacy Shield.

    The EU Commissioners are all corrupt and negotiated long ago that the U.S. internet giants could have a go at EU citizens...for a price.

    I do agree with him that it's inexcusable that Google makes itself look good by requiring third-party advertisers to target pooled users whilst it itself can target individuals with no way to opt-out.

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    France vs Ireland

    I've no idea what French regulators are like but the Irish ones for Comms, Data Protection and Finance seem too Corporate friendly. And disinclined to protect consumers without a Court Order as Max Schrems discovered.

    See Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide and Three Ireland being allowed to call Mobile, "Fast Broadband" and buy O2, despite they were only brought out non-compliance on 3G licence for years by getting a BROADBAND contract that mostly paid for the extra masts. Not one terrestrial Broadband connection installed.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021