Google yanks vital Android privacy feature

People also ought not install apps with permissions they clearly don’t need.

The flashlight app I use has two permission: it can prevent the phone going to sleep, and it can control the camera system (so it can turn on the camera flash LED).


thanks for the clarification. I still feel that they are fussing over an something that was (hopefully just currently) an exploit more than a feature.

But…corporations are people, right?

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This is why I’d like to wait until they have Ubuntu or some such on mobile devices (before I buy one), although part of me says they, too, will catch up sooner or later.

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The explanation I’ve read for why Google hadn’t released the feature is that they were working on how to let application developers deal with application crashes caused by the feature.

As an Android developer you get a console listing the different versions of your app, the number of crashes, links to backtraces, and so on. The problem is, if the genuine bugs suddenly get buried under a ton of crashes caused by people turning off vital permissions, that’s a serious problem for developers. Yet at the same time, you kinda want developers to encounter crashes caused by turned-off permissions they don’t really need, but requested anyway because they were lazy.

Then there’s the whole problem of how you verify during a tech support interaction that the user hasn’t caused the problem with this feature. There are some non-obvious tradeoffs to make, and a bunch of stuff that has to be implemented for the developer console.

The part of the feature that was released as hidden code is the easy bit. They really do need to do a lot more work on it before release, if they don’t want to crap all over their developer community.


You want Nokia’s maemo-based n900 from a few years ago (damn you Elop Microsoft). Jolla’s sailfish OS is the most recent descendent – I think that it supposed to be totally open and thus end-user controllable.

Google should be shut down and their management should be thrown in prison for life. Every site should be privacy-based, by law. I like these companies (because of their great privacy): DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, and HushMail. Use them. Tell everyone about them. The more people that use privacy-based sites, the better they will become. We have to support them if we want to win the war on privacy.

Cory doesn’t even read BoingBoing anymore let alone the comments. It’s clear all his stuff is autoposted and he never even checks if it posted correctly.

By the way, the irony of my posting this comment under a Google username isn't lost on me. It's intriguing to watch BB advocate for privacy on one hand while, on the other, requiring their readers to give some up in order to post comments.

You don’t have to use Google to post here. You can sign up without it.

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The disappearance of App Ops is alarming news for Android users. The fact that they cannot turn off app permissions is a Stygian hole in the Android security model, and a billion people's data is being sucked through. Embarrassingly, it is also one that Apple managed to fix in iOS years ago.

I use Android and hate a lot of things about Apple’s iOS, but this (and the general feeling I’m being spied upon any time I turn on my Android devices and/or try to push any button without Google trying to pry more info about me) makes me consider switching to iOS.

Also, Google really screwed everyone over with Tor on Android as well. Google made it so difficult for Orbot to work with Orweb, that the devs had to ditch the Orweb project entirely in disgust and make Orbot work elsewhere.

Google is evil.

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