Influential Online Privacy Advocate Says Google Removed Vital Privacy Feature From Android, Claiming Its Release Was Accidental

Friday, December 13, 2013 22:19
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Influential Online Privacy Advocate Says Google Removed Vital Privacy Feature From Android, Claiming Its Release Was Accidental

Tags: google | privacy; security

Google willfully created a "hole in the Android security model" that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is livid about, "and a billion people's data is being sucked through."

 

"The disappearance of App Ops is alarming news for Android users, says the EFF post. EFF is a respected US-based international non-profit digital rights group, and its attack on Google is a serious blow to trustworthiness of the Internet juggernaut's that once vowed to "do no evil."

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The privacy-protection feature was enabled in Android 4.3, and EFF posted to its blog just yesterday praising Google for adding the feature. It allows users to install apps from Google's ap store, Play, while preventing collection of sensitive data, like a user's location or address book. However, Google pulled the privacy protection feature from the new 4.4.2 version released last week.

 

EFF asked Google why the feature was removed. "Google told us 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," says EFF's Peter Eckersley. "We are suspicious of this explanation, and do not think that it in any way justifies removing the feature rather than improving it."

 

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