Non-free Android applications always listening

It has been brought to our attention that there are now a few hundered applications on the Android platform that are using the microphone on the users phones to listen to what they are watching on TV all without the users knowledge.

There are two main issues with this.

Firstly, this is one of the faults of using non-free software. Without the ability for people other than the developers to see how these applications are built, there is no easy way for others to figure out if the developers are hidding these ‘non-features’. It the program is initially free, they are also less likely to try and put these function into programs.

Secondly is the privacy issues on the users that their personal information is being collected with their explicit knoledge. This is a power play that only stands to negatively impact all those that are using this applications. This is an example of how when users are forced into an uncontrolable power sturcture such as a non-free application store, it is only a matter of time until those make this applications will use it against the users whether they know it or not.

The only way you can potentially avoid these kinds of issues is to use only free software. For Android this means getting it from a source like F-Droid (, the 100% free software application store. While Android in its typical form will still send out your private information via the invasive Google applications that are typically on by default, using free software for all other functions will help you to retain control over your own machines and the information on them.

You can read more on this over at the XDA Developers website.

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