Disable Google Android Instrumentation Test Tracking

Google has started to track Android developers that run instrumentation tests sending all sorts of data about you and your device to Google Analytics. The opt-out solution they give is to add these options to the adb command: adb shell am instrument -e disableAnalytics true However, this is not how I typically run my tests. A more convinient and permanent solution is to add the following to your build.gradle file. android { … defaultConfig { … testInstrumentationRunnerArguments disableAnalytics: ‘true’ }} That’s it. Now the opt-out should work. I could not find the code of androidx.test.internal.runner.tracker.AnalyticsBasedUsageTracker online, but in case you … Continue reading

Building Briar Reproducible And Why It Matters

Briar is a secure messenger, the next step in the crypto messenger evolution if you want. It is Free Software (Open Source), so everybody has the possibility inspect and audit its source code without needing to trust third-parties to have done so in secret. However, for security critical software, just being Free Software is not enough. It is very easy to install a backdoor before compiling the source code into a binary file. This backdoor would of course not be part of the published source code, but it would be part of the file that gets released to the public. … Continue reading

What is DNS Privacy and how to set it up for OpenWRT

The Domain Name System (DNS) enables your computer to find the actual addresses of other computers. So when you type fsfe.org in your browser, the DNS tells you that is the actual IP address for fsfe.org. It needs this real address to make a connection to that server and present the website hosted there to you. DNS requests leak a lot of data to anybody who can read your network traffic, because they are typically not encrypted. Every server/site you visit will be leaked in a DNS request. To solve this problem, there is DNS Privacy, a project dedicated … Continue reading

How F-Droid is Bringing Apps to Cuba

Only in 2015, when the government opened the first public WiFi hotspots in the country, did internet access become available to ordinary Cubans. Before that, even though modern mobile phones had already found their way into the country, they were mostly used off-line. Now, all these phones can be connected to the internet. However, at 1.50 CUC per hour, this is still not affordable to most Cubans whose average salary is only 20 CUC per month. So it is not surprising that most Cubans do not use what little expensive bandwidth they have available to download apps, but use it … Continue reading

The Proprietarization of Android – Google Play Services and Apps

Android has a market share of ~70% for mobile devices which keeps growing. It is based on Linux and the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), so mostly Free Software. The problem is that every device you can buy is additionally stuffed full with proprietary software. These programs and apps are missing the essential four freedoms that all software should have. They serve all but your interests and are typically designed to spy on your every tap. For this reason, the Free Software Foundation Europe started the Free Your Android campaign in 2012 that shows people how they can install F-Droid … Continue reading

Is Signal a threat to Free Software?

Someone made a lot of noise regarding the LibreSignal shutdown, called it a “new threat to Free Software” and compared it with Tivoization. I was then asked to explain the situation in a discussion with RMS where I gave my own perspective on it. Since I already took the time to write it down, I might as well share it here for others to see: Signal is a very popular communication system that consists of a server component and two clients. Both clients are Free Software although the Android clients uses a proprietary Google library. The server is Free Software … Continue reading

Briar – Next Step of The Crypto Messenger Evolution

Update: Há uma versão em português. Who still remembers ICQ, AIM and MSN? My first messenger was ICQ and I liked the fact that it was instant. In those days, I didn’t think much about security and was probably too young anyway. We can count ourselves lucky if those tools even used transport encryption. This means that our messages are encrypted on the way from our computer to the server, so nobody can see the content of the messages while they are in transit. Whoever has access to the server however can know the content since all messages get decrypted … Continue reading

WhatsApp Adopts Secure End-to-End Encryption. But will it federate?

WhatsApp has announced that it is currently switching all its users to secure end-to-end encryption. It is now using a state-of-the-art protocol that was developed for the Free Software app TextSecure. This cryptographic protocol fulfills most desired security properties and is simple to use at the same time. The encryption happens without the users even noticing it. Thanks to Edward Snowden, the world’s population now knows about the reality of ubiquitous surveillance and is asking for private communications. It is a good sign that companies who previously have assisted surveillance are now helping to fight it. WhatsApp has understood that … Continue reading

What to use instead of WhatsApp and Threema?

WhatsApp is a messaging app for smartphones that allows you to send (text) messages free-of-charge. After WhatsApp’s recent acquisition by Facebook and in the face of the NSA revelations, many of the millions of WhatsApp users are looking for secure and trustworthy alternatives. Because this effects so many people, we at the Free Software Foundation Europe would like to be able to promote an alternative that respects your freedom and privacy. Therefore we decided to do some research and to hold a workshop on WhatsApp alternatives during our latest FSFE team meeting. While most tech-people really didn’t see the point … Continue reading

Liberte seu Android at FISL15

I had been invited to present FSFE’s “Free Your Android” campaign at FISL, the biggest Free Software conference in Latin America. The talk was full and well received. Most people didn’t know about the campaign and the options they have to make their phone more free. For the occasion I updated my presentation with the latest developments in the area. If you are interested, a recording is available online. The presentation was also featured on the conference homepage, in a technology magazine, a political website and some other places. The size of the conference, the corporate/governmental involvement and the percentage … Continue reading