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Old 12-10-2018, 01:03 AM   #1
BrathWait
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Boox Note seems to be eavesdropping

tl;dr: I found the never-used sound recorder app in Boox Note seems to be uploading data in the background.

I upgraded my Boox Note to v2.0 firmware recently and was quite impressed by the smoothness. A couple of days ago, I was trying to play around with the new launcher and clicked the “manage” app menu of Sound Recorder. I don’t use the recorder app so I was trying to see if there is an option to fully disable it. To my surprise, even though I never used the app, it uploaded near 80 MB of data. WTF.
I purchased Boox Note half an year ago because it’s the best option out there if I want to install 3rd party apps like Instapaper or Inoreader. I did have a great time to use it because the benefits E-Ink brought, or at least, I made myself believe so. Now I am both sad and mad for what I found. If anyone has a Boox Note and is with more Android knowledge to check where the data was sent to, please help so I can feel safe to continue to use it.
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:49 AM   #2
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WTF -
Wow - someone with Note Check -
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:41 AM   #3
helen19770707
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I'll check it.

Last edited by helen19770707; 12-10-2018 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:48 AM   #4
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Dear BrathWait,
We never do eavesdropping. When you clicked the "manage"=>"Data usage" to see the background data of a app like kindle, you may see the kindle icon on the top. But when you check the background data for sound recorder, a Android icon is there. That means the data here is not the sound recorder itself, it's the system data. We have to admint that this is a display error and we are going to fix it ASAP. However, it's not about eavesdropping. We are not an overwhelming company. It doesn't make sense to eavesdrop what people said or record what people did. Appologies for any inconvenience and hope for your understanding.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Rg...ZO7QD7wHS-vkD-
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Rma...vUzSV8yBJ/view
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response from Onyx Boox, but what you showed still not convincing.

Here is what I saw:



I may get the number wrong, but it's about 70 MB data usage with an app I didn't use.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:22 AM   #6
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Please click in the "Data usage" as you show on the screen, and you will see the data usage is for the Android system, not for the recorder itself. And also do that to other apps, and you will clear what I mean.
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:49 PM   #7
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I have checked on the data usage for a number of my apps and the results are very interesting.

On some apps which I have very definitely used,it shows "No data used" under Data Usage.

For other apps, it does show that I have used data. And when I click on the Data Usage, it indicates that the data was used by that app and how much of it was used in the foreground and the background.

On the Sound Recorder app which I haven't consciously used, it shows 1.5 MB of data usage. However, when I click on the Data Usage, it shows the data was used by the Android OS in the background.

Haven't a clue what all that means. However, I'm none too worried. I doubt anyone would glean much of value from random snippets of my conversations, especially as I rather doubt that they have put very high quality microphones in the device.

I'd be more worried about what Google and other such companies are capturing from my internet searches and emails.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:50 AM   #8
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I am with Onyx on this one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Question Mark View Post
... However, I'm none too worried. I doubt anyone would glean much of value from random snippets of my conversations, especially as I rather doubt that they have put very high quality microphones in the device.

I'd be more worried about what Google and other such companies are capturing from my internet searches and emails.
I agree. I don't have the technical know-how to determine which app is using data. However, logically, a company like Onyx (or even a government) would have little benefit from eavesdropping on random users. If a government wanted to spy on people, I think they would install spyware on the devices on specific individuals, and make sure it is not detected so easily. Alternatively, they would install spyware en masse on mobile phones which are used by a lot more people and which are always online. Your point about microphone quality is also a good one: this is a weak point of the Boox, whereas most phones have decent mics in order to support speakerphone function.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:05 PM   #9
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Just put a silver tape over the mic hole if it bothers you. Does anyone use the mic?
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:55 AM   #10
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how can you be sure the app is actually recording sound? just because of it's name?
if I woud install malware/bloatware of any kind, I wouldn't select it's name according to it's purpose
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:58 PM   #11
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Thank you all for the responses. Though it lower my anxious level, I will consider to get the next one without a mic.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:52 PM   #12
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You can try an app like Net Monitor to log whether the Note is making any suspicious network connections.
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Old 12-18-2018, 07:01 PM   #13
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Just isolate it from the internet, these things don't belong on the net anyways as they run ancient linux kernel versions. (I just recently found out that the Boox Max2 Kernel is still vulnerable to the DirtyCOW exploit, for example)
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Old 11-29-2021, 05:30 PM   #14
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SPYING ON NOTES?
I'd like to know why one's notes are COMPLETELY UNAVAILABLE if one signs out of Boox on the device.
They literally DISAPPEAR if you sign out.
This seems completely unnecessary unless you want to spy on people.
.
Sure - I can understand if they would not UPDATE.
But DISAPPEARING?
.
Of course, Boox is a Chinese company and under Chinese law must be available to spy for the govt. China is also well known for intellectual property theft.
I'm just not sure I can use this device now for my private notes, some of which are about important business ideas.
.
(While we're on the subject, what sort of company forces you to use a verification code every time to sign in? Why can't you just allow us a PASSWORD like a normal company? This renders Boox Drop basically useless in terms of convenience).
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This privacy issue (combined with other issues like the great difficulty in putting books into shelves and the lack of CUT-and-paste in any Boox-provided app including the Library) is making me think about sending the Note Air 2 back or getting a chargeback.
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Old 11-30-2021, 01:20 PM   #15
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@zenji What? I have really dug into the notes before I upgraded the Note Pro from Android 6 to Android 9. I have even wrote a script to convert the exported text-notes to LaTex. However, I _never_ encountered disappearing Notes. I was able to to check a box that generates a pdf-file from my note-file everytime it closes. I was able to export all notes to pdf-file manually. I was able to back them up to local file storage and to the Onyx Cloud. I was able to disconnect from the Cloud after upgrading without a loss of notes.

However, I was not interested in the database file that keeps all my lines and regenerates my notes. Nor did I try to copy and use it to regenerate my own notes. Could it be that your database file was damaged?

EDIT: I did encounter a temporary loss of access to notes when I upgraded my version 3.1 Android 6 firmware to version 3.0 Android 9 firmware. However, this was resolved after upgrading to version 3.1 Android 9. Could this be your reason for disappearing?

EDIT2: I do strongly feel for you for the loss of notes. Even if turns out to be temporary. It's hours of work that are lost or missing. Rather devastating.

Last edited by Markismus; 11-30-2021 at 01:26 PM.
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