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Cyanogen OS Users Concerned About Privacy After Partnership With Microsoft and Boxer

April 18, 2015 - Written By Ricardo Trevizo

Cyanogen recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft, this comes just a few weeks after Cyanogen signed a deal with Boxer to pre-load their Email app on Cyanogen OS Smartphones. With the Microsoft partnership, you’ll have a number of Microsoft apps available to download at your discretion now as well. Applications like Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Bing Search and services, Outlook, and Microsoft Office will now be surfaced contextually giving users the option to install them. This is great news for the team behind the OS, as this further ensures the future of the company; But these new deals haven’t been completely accepted by the user-base of the Cyanogen OS, as many privacy concerns have started to surface.

Cyanogen OS is the commercially available version of the popular community driven aftermarket firmware, otherwise known as a ROM, named CyanogenMod. This alternative to Android added several features that made the whole mobile experience better without taking the user far from stock Android. CyanogenMod continued to grow over the years since its beginning in the very early days of the OS, and in 2014 it was recently joined by the commercial version of the software, Cyanogen OS. The team working with Cyanogen, Inc. set a goal of making Android more open, in which the user decides what default apps and services they want in their mobile device. This goal is now a lot closer today than it was a week ago with two new partnerships, one with the popular email app, Boxer, and another with Microsoft. In future versions of Cyanogen OS the new default email client will be Boxer; As for the deal with Microsoft, Cyanogen, Inc. reached an agreement with them to allow users the option to have Microsoft apps installed during the setup process. “People around the world use Cyanogen’s operating system and popular Microsoft services to engage with what matters most to them on their mobile devices,” said Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen Inc. Both of these announcements mark the beginning of Cyanogen’s move towards a Google-free Android.

The user’s privacy concerns come primarily from the pact struck with Boxer, an email app that allows you to add multiple accounts from numerous email clients like Gmail, Exchange, and Yahoo; Boxer also integrates Evernote and Dropbox, two apps that have had their account databases compromised in the past. Even with the issues Evernote and Dropbox have faced, the main concern comes from Boxer’s own Privacy Policy, which states that Boxer uses analytic software to gather statistics and usage trends from within the app. “Boxer mobile software may record data from your phone or tablet, such as how frequently you use the app, what actions you take, performance data, the type of hardware and software you are operating, and others.” the official Privacy Policy declares. Boxer also affirms that based on the recorded data, the app may send occasional emails with updates or surveys and keep track of how the user interacts with links found in said emails. CyanogenOS is known for giving users more security than other operating systems, this new privacy concerns will surely shake things up with the recent agreement with Boxer.