Hi there, I hope you're well?
I just recently opted to trade in my iPhone in exchange for a new Samsung Galaxy device, and had a couple queries about certain privacy practices which I hope that this community could help shed some light on throughout your own experiences - unfortunately I'm not too familiar with how Samsung and Google use data, since I've been in the Apple ecosystem for a long time.
I know that by this point privacy is a worn out topic, and I'm not here to besmirch Samsung nor Google about their privacy practices. Android is too powerful for me to forego it entirely for something like LineageOS, but when using Android on a Samsung device, I still want to make an effort to minimise data collection which operates more for an economic benefit rather than an obligation of the companies involved, or where it goes a tad too far.
I bring up Samsung and Google simultaneously as I respect that one doesn't equal the other - Samsung has been described as "double-dipping" the pre-existing data practices of the original OS when adding their own unique touch to it.
With that being said, I've got some questions below and I'd be so grateful if you could share your thoughts:
1. If using a third party app downloaded from the Google Play Store, excluding the permissions that I myself give, is it possible for Samsung and/or Android itself to view the data inside of that app? For example, if I don't use Samsung's standard note-taking app and opt for something like Standard Notes, does the content inside of the app get scanned and collected? Or, since it's not made by Samsung, nor Google, and not under their control, are it's contents retained only by the user?
3. Looking more specifically at the pre-installed system apps offered by Samsung, have the company openly disclosed their collection of data from things like photos, emails, text messages, contacts and so on? I'm aware that the default keyboard stores and transmits information to Samsung (which is why I asked question 1, in the hopes of using a third party keyboard) but does the same apply for other default apps?
4. Are any of the services Samsung offers end-to-end encrypted? E.g. password storing.
5. Lastly, is the data that is collected anonymised? I understand that Samsung also shares data with third party advertisers, alongside collecting data for a myriad of other reasons, but is this data personally identifiable?
I just want to note that I appreciate how the society we live in today makes ultimate privacy near impossible, and that data collection is now accepted practice.
I also respect that some of these questions are too niche to be answered by individuals outside of Samsung, but your experience/knowledge on the matter is more than enough for me!