We live in a world where our reliance on technology has increased tenfold since the past decade perhaps even more. The rapid increase in dependence on tech means we often are faced with unforeseeable issues.
In this tech-forward world, all our data can be accessed and misused if the appropriate measures are not taken. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal which revealed gross data violations by Facebook made people more aware of data protection laws. Apple was one of the first companies to take a step to prioritize its user’s data. Silicon Valley-based has always been vigilant when it comes to privacy and recently introduced the App Tracking Transparency feature as a privacy upgrade. While Facebook openly disagreed with the feature, Google seemed to have taken a neutral stance until now. The latter is working on updating its privacy policies to give users more control over their data.
New Privacy Upgrade
Due to Google’s new privacy upgrade Android apps that haven’t been used in a long time will soon lose their ability to access critical device functionalities like sensors, Phone messages, and contact lists.
Google aims to expand the availability of “permissions auto-reset,” an Android privacy feature that immediately revokes an app’s previously granted permissions to access a device’s location, camera, microphone, and other features, starting in December. It is worth mentioning, last year, Google debuted the capability for Android 11, but it will be expanded to “billions of more devices” in December via Google Play services for devices running Android 6.0 and newer.
The function is designed to assist Android users in managing privacy-sensitive app permissions when they have dozens of apps on their smartphone, many of which aren’t used frequently or for long periods. It focuses on an app’s “runtime permissions,” or “dangerous permissions,” which allow it to access the user’s location, contact information, messages, and other personal information.
If an app targeting Android 6 or higher isn’t utilized for a few months after being released in the second quarter of 2022, Android will automatically reset the sensitive runtime permissions that the user granted to the app. All Android apps on consumer devices will be affected by the change. Google has provided an exception for company-managed apps and apps with permissions set by enterprise policy.
Developers can also ask a user to disable auto-set for their app on Google’s platform. This could be appropriate for apps that are supposed to run in the background, such as family safety apps, data syncing apps, smart device control apps, or device pairing apps.
The auto-reset feature will be gradually rolled out after launching in December, but it won’t reach all devices running Android 6 to Android 10 until Q1 2022, according to Google. Users with Android 6 to 10 can enable or disable auto-reset for certain apps by going to an auto-reset settings page.
The aforementioned privacy upgrades are a major step towards data protection. If more companies such as Google start working on similar privacy upgrades the virtual world would become more secure and accessible for everyone. We will have to wait and see how this new functionality is implemented and its implications on the tech world.