Tracker on Android app

I’ve installed recently the Delta Chat App (v. 1.20.5) on my Android smartphone.
I’ve launched Exodus and it found the Mapbox tracker inside the Delta Chat app …

Why is there a tracker on the application ? Could you justify that ?

Thank you in advance,

I assume it’s used for location streaming, but I don’t know how invasive it is and if it can possibly be replaced. In any case I think that if you don’t enable location streaming there should be no problem. Anyway let’s wait to see if someone involved in the development of delta chat answers with more precision.

Delta Chat is using Mapbox tile server to show the map if you enable experimental “location streaming” feature and open the map. It is not used as long as you do not enable this feature or use it only to send your location but never look at the map.

Delta Chat for Android also opts out of Mapbox telemetry, so the tracker is not actually running: init mapbox only as needed and disable mapbox-telemetry by r10s · Pull Request #886 · deltachat/deltachat-android · However, the tiles will be downloaded from Mapbox’s AWS servers, so Mapbox will be able to collect some statistics about which parts of the map you download, and associate it to your IP address, but not your email account.

Switching to offline maps would be nice, but is low priority currently, as “Location streaming” is not a primary feature of Delta Chat:

If you are concerned about possible tracking by Mapbox, don’t enable “Location streaming”.

Overall this tracker detection is a “false positive”, Exodus does not analyze the code but warns about any inclusion of Mapbox SDK in applications. You can also see a discussion in F-Droid repo, users run Exodus from time to time and report this to F-Droid maintainers: Delta Chat now contacting third party servers (map provider) for position related data (map tiles) (#1611) · Issues · F-Droid / Data · GitLab

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Thank you for the clarification. It ends up working the way I expected and I personally don’t have any particular problems with it. In the future (though not necessarily as a priority) I think it would still be actually desirable to switch to services like osmdroid also to avoid any controversy.

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