Google Removed Vital Privacy Feature From Android - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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Google Removed Vital Privacy Feature From Android

Google recently released and revert back one of the privacy features for Android since its launch, that feature added in Android 4.3. That feature should be allows users to install apps while preventing the app from collecting sensitive data like the user's location or address book.

App Ops seemed like a decent compromise that allowed for lots of finetuning of permissions, per application.If you use the custom ROM that re-enables it, Google be damned. Google claims App Ops may break some applications well, that's not really any of my concern. If an application breaks because I do not give it permission to find out if I'm on the toilet or not, there's always an uninstall button.
It provided an interface from where users could withdraw permissions they gave apps when installing them. Traditionally, Android users have had to choose between giving an app all permissions it requests or not use it.

The granular permission control provided by App Ops is something that privacy advocates had long requested, since many apps ask for more permissions than they need to provide their main functionality.

In part this is because a lot of apps, especially free ones, bundle advertising libraries that provide a revenue stream for developers. Often the excessive permissions requested by such apps come from those ad libraries.

According Electronic Frontier Foundation, "Google told to Electronic Frontier Foundation that the feature had only ever been released by accident — that it was experimental, and that it could break some of the apps policed by it. We are suspicious of this explanation, and do not think that it in any way justifies removing the feature rather than improving it."

Last week, Goldenshores Technologies, the developer of a popular flashlight app for Android, settled U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that it shared users’ geolocation information with advertising networks without properly notifying users. The company agreed to disclose to users how it collects, uses, and shares geolocation information and obtain consent from them before doing so.

While present inside Android 4.3, the App Ops interface has never been directly accessible to users, but it was easy to gain access to it by installing third-party applications like Permission Manager or AppOps Launcher from Google Play.

Google explained to the EFF that it was released accidentally and was still in testing mode. As it is, some apps can’t function without having some permissions allowed. However, being able to download the app, remove the permission, and later realize that the app doesn’t work without it is better than downloading an app and having it immediately start collecting information you might not be aware it collects.

Author Venkatesh Yalagandula Follow us Google + and Facebook and Twitter

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