I'm annoyed that this article doesn't explain at all 1) how governments are actually using push notifications to spy, 2) what apps they're using, and 3) how users can protect themselves.
The government is spying on me and you're not going to tell me how they're actually doing it? Not helpful.
The best way to protect yourself from Google is to not use google at all.
Even that won't protect you. They still have analytics on billions of websites since they offer a robust free analytics interface for small webmasters, and have a paid tier for enterprise level websites. They still track everything that goes through Gmail and Gmail is used by billions of people. Your emails are still being read by Google every time you email someone who uses Gmail. Even if you refused to email a Gmail user, many small businesses use Gmail without you even knowing, passing their custom domain name through the gmail servers. Your web activity is still being tracked by Google every time you visit a website or use an app with Google analytics on it. Not personally using Google products, or not having a Google account does nothing to protect you from their tracking.
Edit: that's without even mentioning their Android OS.
Is there a reason the notifications go through Apple/Google servers instead of directly from the services themselves?
Although, that wouldn't necessarily stop the government from requesting the data from those services instead.
Either way, Wyden is continuing to be the top senator/politician on digital privacy for over a decade at this point.
Android and iOS don't let mobile apps run continuously in the background. If an app is closed or in the background, it generally can't talk to its own servers.
Instead, Google and Apple provide a service that allows the apps' servers to push a message even if the app is closed.
In Google's case, it's to reduce power usage. Having to listen to one service only (FCM) uses less power than if each app/service was listening on their own. They state this in their website
I imagine Apple has similar reasons for that.
Thank you for the info! Understandable.
Oh cool, more warrantless wire tapping! What a time to be alive! Who needs that dusty old Constitution anyways?
Ha, good luck, I'm behind 7 layers of ungoogle
(okay, for real, I just hate push notifs for digital wellbeing reasons)