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Home News Security isn't privacy, and you can have one without the other

Security isn’t privacy, and you can have one without the other

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Android is the most security-driven operating system in the world, and one of the least private.

We all tend to equate security with privacy. I’m not talking about public security, where there is debate over encryption and why Apple and Google won’t just hand everything over to the FBI, I’m talking about our personal digital security.

Security is really an easy subject to understand once you break it down to its core: your electronic devices — whether they be a phone, a laptop, a smart doorbell, or anything else — should only be operable and accessible by you. If I can pick up your phone and rifle through its contents or see the video your Ring Doorbell collects, something, somewhere isn’t secure.

It could be as simple as you haven’t used any available tools to set up personal security like a lock screen on your phone, or it could be an existing exploit that allows me to connect remotely. In the end, all that matters is that if I can get into your stuff, it’s not secure.

Security is easy to understand if you break it down: only you can use or access your digital devices.

Privacy is a bit different. Privacy is protecting our personal data through those existing security methods which is where much of the confusion stems, but more importantly privacy is something we all tend to willingly ignore and give away our data willingly. Our data is a commodity that is worth billions and billions and there will always be a company willing to provide a service using your privacy as payment.

Here’s where we’re going to talk about Google and Android. Android itself is one of the most secure operating systems in existence. Its open-source nature and frequent security audits by some of the best people in the field mean updates to keep Android secure happen at a rapid pace, and Google even spends millions every year paying people who find security exploits and submitting them to the Android security team. Simply put, Android is so secure because so many eyeballs are looking at it.

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The number of eyeballs looking at Android also means it has to be kept secure at any cost. Android is the new Windows — everyone uses it, so every bad actor is looking for a way to attack it. When any specific software is used by three-quarters of the population, it’s going to be a target. This is why Google spends so much money keeping Android itself secure from exploits and malware.

Android is secure, but adding Google’s apps hits hard on the privacy side.

Privacy is another matter completely. You can use Android and guard your privacy, but hardly anyone would want to because Android isn’t that great without Google and third-party support. A smartphone isn’t very smart without any apps involved. You hear a lot about apps that overreach and ask for too much of your private data and Google is in a constant battle to address these issues, but Google itself is also the biggest offender.

You should read those pop-up messages the next time you sign into a new Android phone because they tell you about what personal data you’re giving away and how Google will use it. The same goes for things like Google Assistant’s privacy policy, or the privacy policy for a Nest thermostat. To add to the confusion, most Android phones are made by Google’s hardware partners like Samsung who also have separate data-collection policies.

As mentioned, you are using your personal data to pay for services from Google. It has real value, the same as dollars and cents. That means it’s important to make sure you are getting equal value in return. Google doesn’t sell your data, no matter how many times you hear a knucklehead claiming it does. But it’s important to know what Google does with: Google builds an advertising profile on you and uses it to sell more ads through its money-making advertising division.

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Only you can decide if the trade (or as I like to think of it, the financial transaction of paying with data) is worth it. You have to ask yourself if you trust that Google will always safeguard the huge amounts of personal information it collects about you; you have to ask if Google is using your data responsibly; and you have to trust that Google isn’t being too invasive and collecting data about your race or religion or health. Then you need to look at the services you get in return.

I use Google services because what I give is worth what I get in return.

I use Google products and reluctantly trust the company with my data. Google’s track record of how it cares for user data stands on its own, and I truly believe it would responsibly report and address any outside data breaches. I do this because the services I get in return are phenomenal — Assistant greets me each morning and turns on my lights when it knows I have to wake up. Google Photos keeps better track of my photo library than I ever could. Gmail is like a virtual filing cabinet where everything you’ve ever sent or received is there and easy to find. And the other services like Maps or Google Docs are useful each time I need them. The trade-off is worth it to me.

I’m not trying to convince anyone that they should do the same — in fact, you should not listen to me and make your own decision about it. But it is very important that everyone realize that Google can easily say it has the most secure operating system on the planet but that doesn’t make any difference when it comes to the privacy you are willing to give up in order to use it.

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Motorola Phone Buyer’s Guide (Fall 2020)

When it comes to phones, Motorola is no doubt a familiar name to all. It’s the brand behind the iconic Razr phone of the mid 2000’s as well as the Droid line that helped take Android to the stratosphere. It’s also the company with a lot of “firsts” in the mobile space.If you’ve ever looked at the phone market and found yourself confused by the numerous Motorola brands and models, you’d not be alone. Motorola has its fair share of product lines and devices.It may feel challenging to try to make sense of everything, but it’s not quite as bad as it seems. Here, we’ll help you get an understanding as to what Motorola offers consumers in fall of 2020.Moto EFirst introduced back in 2014, this is the durable, low-cost experience geared toward first-time smartphone buyers. Moreover, it’s a great way to buy an affordable unlocked phone that works with a variety of wireless service providers.The Moto E line is often sold through prepaid and MVNO carriers; it’s also popular in emerging markets. It is currently in its seventh generation.Moto GMoving up a notch, the Moto G line is more robust and features hardware that’s mid-range and just short of what might be considered a “flagship” experience.The Moto G family of phones, now in its eighth cycle, is split into slightly different versions, with each catering to a slightly different user type.The Moto G Power, for instance, is big on battery, touting three days of usage per charge. The Moto G Stylus, for its part, comes with a removable stylus for jotting down notes.You’ll find different versions of the Moto G series at a variety of carriers, including post-paid and prepaid.Motorola OneThe Motorola One is where the phone maker starts putting forward some of the more interesting technology and higher-end hardware.Like the Moto G, this line of phones is split into a number of options, each a little different from the next. The materials used in these devices is a bit more premium and the phones are definitely more stylish.It’s not just the physical stuff, either. Motorola has added some AI smarts and custom touches to take advantage of that cool hardware. All the while keeping things user-friendly and a software experience that’s about as clean as it comes.The current Motorola One lineup includes the One Fusion+, One 5G, One Hyper, One Action, and One Zoom. Although they are not widely available with carrier partnerships, they can be easily purchased through Motorola and online retailers.Motorola EdgeThe true flagship in Motorola’s armada, the Motorola Edge and its sibling, the Motorola Edge+ are the brand’s all-around best devices. The latter of which offers up a generally more robust hardware suite.The Motorola Edge models are constructed using an anodized aluminum frame and feature spacious screens with curved edges and hole-punch cutouts for front-facing cameras. Motorola includes some custom software to take advantage of the edges, giving users quick access to notifications, apps, shortcuts, and more.One noteworthy detail as it pertains to the Motorola Edge+ is that it’s only available through Verizon. To that end, it does support the carrier’s Ultra Wideband 5G network.Motorola RazrThe folding phone is back. Indeed, this is a 2020 approach to the clam shell device that was all the rage about 15 years back. The Motorola Razr maintains the look and feel of the classic phone, but this time it’s Android running the show.The exterior has a Quick View display for notifications, at-a-glance GPS turn-by-turn, music control, and more. Opened up, there’s a 6.2-inch display and the same Motorola and Google experience you’ve come to appreciate.In terms of true power, this is more of a mid-range phone so you’re paying for the aesthetics and convenience of its design. The first generation was exclusive to Verizon, but an unlocked 2nd-geneation (2020) version is on the way.Where to BuyAs indicated above, you’ll find various versions of the Motorola portfolio at wireless carriers and retailers. You may find the occasional one-off name or exclusive model, but they’ll still fit with the breakdown we’ve created.Here are a number of places to look for buying Motorola phones.Quick LinksVerizonAT&TT-MobileAmazonBest BuyB&H Photo VideoWalmartTargetMotorola

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