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Mar 31, 2017

Verizon set to royally screw over their customers with spyware now that Congress voted to repeal privacy restrictions

Congress recently moved to screw over all American's by voting to repeal broadband privacy restrictions allowing internet service providers to actively spy on their customer's internet usage and sell that information to the highest bidder. A few days later Verizon made it known that they plan to step up their douche-baggery by also installing spyware on their customer's smart phones!

From EFF:
Within days of Congress repealing online privacy protections, Verizon has announced new plans to install software on customers’ devices to track what apps customers have downloaded. With this spyware, Verizon will be able to sell ads to you across the Internet based on things like which bank you use and whether you’ve downloaded a fertility app. 
Verizon’s use of “AppFlash”—an app launcher and web search utility that Verizon will be rolling out to their subscribers’ Android devices “in the coming weeks”—is just the latest display of wireless carriers’ stunning willingness to compromise the security and privacy of their customers by installing spyware on end devices.
Isn't that just lovely? Don't worry though, you should be able to stop douchey big brother Verizon from watching all of your phone activity. There are a couple of ways you can disable Verizon's AppFlash.

From The Hacker News:
How to Get Rid of ‘AppFlash’ on Your Verizon Android Phone 
Users can get rid of this bloatware in two ways: you can either root your device and remove the app in question, or only disable the app.
  1. Root to remove AppFlash from Android: Since the company has made AppFlash a default app on the home screen of its Android handsets to help users search content and browse the internet, the app can not be uninstalled.

    So, in order to uninstall AppFlash, you are required to root your Android device and then delete the app from your storage memory.
  2. Disable AppFlash without Root: Since rooting is a dangerous process that void your device warranty, you can simply disable AppFlash.

    Disabling bloatware apps on newer phones is easy, as Android has a built-in way to do this, which doesn't require any root access.

    Just head on to Settings → Apps (or 'Applications' on some phones) → AppFlash. Now open it and click 'Disable,' 'Force Stop' and then 'Clear Data' as well.

I'm not sure how the folks at Hacker News got the above information, but on my Google Pixel I don't have AppFlash installed (Yet) so I can't test disabling it myself. If it's like most bloatware that comes on phones these days, I'm sure they are right though. Let's hope... for privacy purposes anyway.

What do you think about this? Are you ticked off? Don't care? Let us know in the comments!



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