New Cyanogen Partnerships Bring Privacy Concerns
New Privacy concerns have emerged regarding Cyanogen’s latest announcements, primarily the inclusion of email app Boxer and that of a multitude of Microsoft apps, including Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office. The concerns arise when you look at both announcements together. At face value they may appear to be the beginning of Cyanogen’s plan to “take Android away from Google,” however there is certainly something more nefarious occurring.
As you can see, not only do they collect data on your actions and “others”, without further clarification we can only assume this data may potentially contain information that the majority of us would rather not be handled by other organizations. It is currently not know how far this data collection extends and could well contain information on the third-party apps integrated in to the service. Furthermore they continue to state that personal information is then provided to affiliates and other trusted businesses, which as of today may not only include Cyanogen but also Microsoft. Their statement on the use of your contacts information is delightfully vague, and only states that it will be used to provide the service.
The majority of Microsoft apps coming to Cyanogen require either a Microsoft account or the far less likely a federated login through your Cyanogen account. Either way, this is yet another email address potentially available to Boxer along with your primary email. It has already been stated that the new apps will be uninstallable, but it has at no point been mentioned with exactly whom your data is shared with or what constitutes “trusted businesses or persons”. Before deciding to mine your data, Cyanogen may well desire to inform us just who will have access. Whilst Gmail has similar practices when it comes to your data, it is Cyanogen that state “We Stand For Openness”. This is an integral part of who they claim to be and one of the reasons people use their software. It is when these values are ignored that trust and consumer-OEM relations begin to break down. With Google we know where we stand, they will take our data and do with it as they wish, we know it and they know we know. The fact that Cyanogen still (hypocritically) claims to be against Google’s Android and practices shows just how far from their initial values they have strayed. The entirety of the new partnership has thrown doubt on to the “open future” of the company.
For now many of us can take consolation in the fact that CyanogenMod will not be receiving the same currently flawed service in future updates. Users of Cyanogen OS for now can only hope that either Boxer or Cyanogen will make a statement about just who will get their hands on your personal data. Of course they have thus far made no effort to inform people of these policy arrangements and appear to be in complete denial on the subject, going as far as to claim that this is for the benefit of the users. To that effect I leave you with a quote from Boxer’s open letter regarding the partnership earlier today, take from it what you will.
“The launch of our partnership with Cyanogen marks a major shift in the mobile landscape. No longer are users forced to use second-class software or services that further the agenda of the companies behind their platforms … …Users now have a choice – an open operating system in Cyanogen that is bringing best in class products and services together to form a single cohesive platform.”
Do you have privacy concerns regarding the new partnerships? Leave a comment below!
For more coverage on Cyanogen’s partnerships check Aamir’s feature: Cyanogen Announces Strategic Partnership With Microsoft.
Or continue reading about the War For an Open Android!