With cases such as Cambridge Analytica and Facebook or with the latest viruses found in official stores such as the Google Play Store or the Chrome Web Store, the most cautious Android users are constantly on the alert. And there is no way to relax: we also learned that every ten seconds a new virus for Android is born.
Manufacturers and developers strive to ensure that these threats do not reach users. And this seems to be, exactly, the role of Android P, the new version of Google’s mobile operating system. It is not the first time that there is talk about the possibility that some applications are recording users without their consent. Facebook is one of the services indicated.
The latest versions of Android have considerably improved the management of the permissions that applications request the user to be installed or when activating certain functions. Thus, each time the application needs to use a phone feature (for example, access the Gallery), the user receives a notification to give or not permission to execute it.
Applications often request access to location, camera and microphone. It is a way to open the doors to the developers of the application to a large part of our private information. But things could change considerably with the arrival of Android P.
How to manage Android P permissions
The news has been disclosed at the I/O Developer Conference held by Google this week. Xiaowen Xin, head of security for Android, told developers that applications will no longer be able to access the camera, the microphone and other sensors on the device if they are running in the background.
There are hundreds of applications that have been flagged for making controversial use of the permissions they get from users. In fact, it is not the first time that there is talk about the possibility that some applications are abusing the goodwill of users, accessing the camera, the microphone and other sources of information without the express consent (or at least, informed) of the users.
Obtaining this type of data from users can help the companies that collect them to have privileged information about what they do in their daily lives, listening to what they see on television or what they talk to their relatives. It is a good way to know what might interest them and, considering this, provide information to companies that are dedicated to advertising to better manage their ads.
In the United States there have already been cases in which some applications have been denounced for tricking users about the data they were collecting. Part of these is the so-called flashlight applications, available massively in Google and Apple’s application stores.
New measures to protect your data on Android
The applications that want to collect data without the user has given express consent to do so is one of the important security improvements in new Android P. However, other developments are expected.
For example, everything indicates that you can block phone information when you lose it and forget it somewhere. But also when you transfer private or highly confidential information.
In any case, Google will have to seriously get down working to fight against fraudulent applications that too often have been cast in the Google Play Store.