The scourge of hidden trackers in Android apps means users should stop using the Google Play store, researchers argue.
Finding a Replacement
Yale Privacy Lab is now collaborating with Exodus Privacy to detect and expose trackers with the help of the F-Droid app store. F-Droid is the best replacement for Google Play, because it only offers FOSS apps without tracking, has a strict auditing process, and may be installed on most Android devices without any hassles or restrictions. F-Droid doesn’t offer the millions of apps available in Google Play, so some people will not want to use it exclusively.
It’s true that Google does screen apps submitted to the Play store to filter out malware, but the process is still mostly automated and very quick— too quick to detect Android malware before it’s published, as we’ve seen.
Installing F-Droid isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s the first step in protecting yourself from malware. With this small change, you’ll even have bragging rights with your friends with iPhones, who are limited to Apple’s App Store unless they jailbreak their phones.
But why debate iPhone vs. Android, Apple vs. Google, anyway? Your privacy and security are massively more important than brand allegiance. Let’s debate digital freedom and servitude, free and unfree, private and spied-upon…