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People shouldn't have to trade their privacy and security for access to a smartphone.

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Do you think someone who buys a cheap smartphone deserves less privacy than someone who can afford the latest iPhone? No? Then join us in pressuring Google to ensure every Android phone protects their users equally.

Dear Google,

People shouldn't have to trade their privacy and security for access to a smartphone. The changes we believe are needed most urgently are as follows:

  • Individuals should be able to permanently uninstall pre-installed apps on their phones. This should include any related background services that continue to run even if the apps are disabled.

  • Pre-installed apps should adhere to the same scrutiny as Google Play apps, especially in relation to custom permissions.

  • Pre-installed apps should have some update mechanism, preferably through Google Play and without a user account.

  • Where manufacturers or vendors have attempted to exploit users in this way, Google should refuse to certify the device on privacy grounds.

Google has the power to dramatically improve the ecosystem of cheap phones. They already certify many of them as part of their Android Partners programme. At the moment Android Partners - who use the Android trademark and branding - are manufacturing devices that contain pre-installed apps that cannot be deleted (often known as "bloatware"), which can leave users vulnerable to their data being collected, shared and exposed without their knowledge or consent.

These pre-installed apps can have privileged custom permissions that let them operate outside the Android security model. This means permissions can be defined by the app - including access to the microphone, camera and location - without triggering the standard Android security prompts. Users are therefore completely in the dark about these serious intrusions.

There are some simple things Google can do to make low-cost phones better for everyone, around the world. Sign the petition to tell them Privacy shouldn't be a luxury.

Google already claim to agree with us. Sundar Pichai said so himself in the New York Times just this year. Sign our petition to tell Google they should act like it.


We will store your email address until the 29th April 2020 for the purposes of this campaign, we will send you a confirmation on submission of this form and no further emails. You will not be automatically added to any mailing list