Project

General

Profile

Actions

Feature #1001

closed

Allow Privacy Cell to be included in system backups

Added by tomato 666 12 months ago. Updated 6 months ago.

Status:
Closed
Priority:
Next Release
Start date:
04/25/2023
Due date:
% Done:

0%

Estimated time:

Description

Hello, and thank you very much for the software :-)

There is a bug that doesn't allow backup.

After I run Seedvault, I can see Privacy Cell present in the "programs that do not allow backup" list.

This is very unfortunate. Could you fix this?

Actions #1

Updated by Soren Stoutner 12 months ago

  • Subject changed from [Bug] Privacy Cell cannot be included in backup to Allow Privacy Cell to be included in backup
  • Priority changed from 3.x to Next Release

That's a good idea.

As a bit of background, Privacy Browser Android prohibits backups to prevent sensitive user data from ending up on a Google server. It also has its own backup and restore mechanism.

Privacy Cell utilizes the same configuration, but it doesn't have any sensitive user information and doesn't have its own backup and restore mechanism. As such, it makes sense to allow backups through Google's infrastructure.

Actions #2

Updated by Soren Stoutner 12 months ago

  • Subject changed from Allow Privacy Cell to be included in backup to Allow Privacy Cell to be included in system backups
Actions #3

Updated by tomato 666 12 months ago

Soren Stoutner,

That's cool to hear, thanks! Looking forward :-)

Soren Stoutner wrote in #note-1:

As a bit of background, Privacy Browser Android prohibits backups to prevent sensitive user data from ending up on a Google server. It also has its own backup and restore mechanism.

To be honest I don't really know what this is about, I don't use Google, and the best for everyone is to simply not use cyber-criminal Booble xD
I have /e/ OS and GrapheneOS on the phone, where Seedvault is the system backup tool (it is used in many de-bloated AOSP OSes like Lineage, /e/, Calyx, Graphene, etc)

Privacy Cell utilizes the same configuration, but it doesn't have any sensitive user information and doesn't have its own backup and restore mechanism.

Seedvault backups are encrypted backups, so even if there was smth sensitive and non-encrypted in the same time, it would not be an issue. :-)

As such, it makes sense to allow backups through Google's infrastructure.

...or, if it is possible, block this feature for Booble's infrastructure and make available for the rest (non-Booble)
(and in the same time ask googled people to become de-googled and install /e/ or Calyx or Graphene xD )

Actions #4

Updated by Soren Stoutner 12 months ago

This entire feature is controlled by the following lines from the manifest:

<!-- App data is automatically backed up to Google cloud servers unless `android:allowBackup="false"` and `android:fullBackupContent="false"` is set.
    `tools:ignore="DataExtractionRules` removes the warning that backups can still transfer data device to device. -->
    <application
        android:label="@string/privacy_cell" 
        android:icon="@mipmap/privacy_cell" 
        android:allowBackup="false" 
        android:fullBackupContent="false" 
        android:supportsRtl="true" 
        android:theme="@style/Theme.PrivacyCell" 
        android:localeConfig="@xml/locales_config" 
        tools:ignore="DataExtractionRules,UnusedAttribute" >

https://gitweb.stoutner.com/?p=PrivacyCell.git;a=blob;f=app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml;h=528c4c3e33ab33d601143f3b87fe6d3365e480d6;hb=HEAD

This just politely asks things with root access not to back up the data to other locations. There is no real enforcement power to this request and something with root access, like Google Play Services, could, at any point, just ignore it. I have no indication that Google has ever done that, but nothing is stopping them.

Likewise, any other app with root access could also choose to ignore this request. Perhaps you might make a request to Seedvault that they add an option to ignore these restrictions (assuming that Seedvault has full root access to perform backups).

Actions #5

Updated by Soren Stoutner 12 months ago

As noted in the comments extracted from the Manifest, Google warns that data transfers to new devices could ignore the backup prohibition and copy the data anyway. Which is fine by me. The data belongs to the user and they ought to be able to do anything with it they want. The purpose of turning on these features for Privacy Browser Android was that Google often copies sensitive data to their servers without users being fully aware of what is happening, and the only way to require specific user interaction to allow a data backup was to prevent automatic backups in the manifest.

Actions #6

Updated by tomato 666 12 months ago

Seedvault devs say "it's up to the app developers to resolve that issue",

Also take a look at this short discussion in their repo, both the devs and the users give interesting comments and info there:

https://github.com/seedvault-app/seedvault/issues/81

Actions #7

Updated by Soren Stoutner 12 months ago

Based on that discussion, it sounds like Seedvault is not running with root permissions, and so cannot choose to bypass these restrictions.

There are several ways they could resolve the issue.

1. Run as root. That wouldn't help everyone, but someone in your case who has root access to their device could grant an app root permissions. This would require reworking how Seedvault functions internally and is probably more work than what the developers want to get into.
2. As mentioned in the discussion, this restriction can be removed for apps with backup permission by modifying code in the AOSP (Android Open Source Project). Hence, custom ROMs can remove this restriction. For example, you could make this suggestion to /e/ OS or GrapheneOS.
3. As noted at https://github.com/seedvault-app/seedvault/issues/165, starting with apps targeting Android 12, Seedvault can probably bypass this restriction by claiming it is performing a data transfer to a new device. However, they have not yet fully tested this feature and it is not part of their production build.
4. Ask apps to remove the restriction. This is what I will do for Privacy Cell because it doesn't provide any benefit like it does for Privacy Browser Android.

Actions

Also available in: Atom PDF