Google Secretly Collects User Messages and Calls

 Google Secretly Collects User Messages and Calls

Google User Data - Privacy and security issues are indeed an interesting topic. This time it was the turn of the Pixel brand owner who was caught collecting user personal data in the form of call info and short messages.

The two data are "mined" from two applications, namely Google Messages and Phone by Google. Both are available and can be downloaded for free on the official app store, Google Play Store.

For those who don't know, Messages is a short message application that supports Rich Communication Services (RCS) technology.

RCS is also referred to as Advanced Messaging, Joyn, SMSoIP, Message+, and SMS+, while Phone by Google on the other hand is a calling application commonly called a dialer.

These two applications are sometimes the default application (also called bloatware ) of a mobile phone-based on the Android operating system.

User Messages & Calls Sent to Google

According to a research paper, "What Data Does Google Dialer and Messages App on Android Send to Google?", Google Messages and Google Dialer have sent data about user communications.

This paper was published by Douglas Leith, a professor of computer science from Trinity College Dublin.

Google User Data Collection

According to him, Google carried out this practice without the user's notice and consent. More than that, they don't provide any option at all to disable it.

This app collects the hash of SHA256 messages along with their time, phone number, incoming and outgoing call logs, and time and duration of the call.

This data allows Google to map text message exchanges (connecting senders and recipients). "I was surprised to see this data being collected by this app," Leith said.

How Should Our Attitude As Users

You've probably heard or read "if you don't pay for the product, then you are the product". These words are indeed valid to describe this situation.

Please note, that it does not apply to most software that upholds the spirit of free open-source software.

Android Signal To Send SMS

The world of FOSS almost always has an alternative to "combat" the collection of user data by for-profit companies like Facebook (Meta), Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and so on.

To replace Google Messages, we recommend using Signal Private Messenger.

Yes, besides being able to be used to send messages to other Signal users via data/internet, you can also set it as the default messaging application so that it can be used to send SMS and MMS texts.

Regarding the caller board, you can use Simple Dialer. Don't worry, both can be installed for free via the link below.

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