Privacy flap prompts CyanogenMod developers to back down on mandatory info collection

Privacy flap prompts CyanogenMod developers to back down on mandatory info collection


The lead developer of CyanogenMod, one of the most popular third-party versions of Android, has reversed a change that would have removed the ability for users to opt out of data collection, after a determined protest from some CyanogenMod users.

The data collected would have included device type, CyanogenMod version, country code, which carrier the device is using, and a "one-way hash" of a unique device ID like an IMEI or MAC address, according to a Google+ post from developer Steve Kondik, who said that the hash couldn't be reverse-engineered into the actual device ID.

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In his initial post to GitHub announcing the change, Kondik asserted that privacy concerns would be minimal.

"Not having an accurate count of how many people are using CM is painful. I am making an executive decision to remove the opt-out and always turn stats on. The data is anonymized and there is nothing evil that can be done with it. The only purpose here is to tell us if we are a successful project or not," he wrote on Monday.

The reaction, as first reported by ZDNet's Steven Vaughan-Nichols, was swift and negative, at least among a small but vehement group of users. Kondik, fellow developer Koushik Dutta and others engaged in acrimonious debate with the critics, even after the change was rescinded.

"It's incredibly frustrating that a handful of incredibly vocal users are ready to 'fork' over the issue," Kondik wrote in a Google+ post announcing the reversal.

Email Jon Gold at and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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Tags open sourcesmartphonesGartnerGoogleAndroidsoftwareconsumer electronicsCyanogenGitHub


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