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Print 20 comment(s) - last by Reclaimer77.. on Dec 17 at 8:35 AM

Google says it was just experimental

Thanks to the removal of a certain feature, Android users may have to consider which is more important to them: privacy or security.
 
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Google removed the App Ops feature from Android 4.4.2, the latest version of the mobile operating system. App Ops allowed Android users to prevent apps from collecting their personal information. 
 
The App Ops privacy feature was made available in Android 4.3, but users who have updated to the latest version of the OS noticed that it's gone missing.
 
According to Google, App Ops was experimental and wasn't meant to be released in 4.3. It further said that its inclusion in 4.3 was accidental. 
 
But the EFF isn't buying this excuse, and is now questioning Google's priorities when it comes to privacy. 


"When asked for comment, 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. We are suspicious of this explanation, and do not think that it in any way justifies removing the feature rather than improving it. Many instances of apps 'breaking' when they are denied the ability to collect data like a location or an address book or an IMEI number can easily be fixed by, for instance, giving them back a fake location, an empty address book, or an IMEI number of all zeroes," wrote the EFF. 
 
"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."
 
Android users can choose to stick with 4.3 if they want to hold onto App Ops, but failing to update to the latest version of the OS could mean not receiving the most recent security updates. 

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation



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Old News
By Zinc64 on 12/16/2013 11:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
This was news a week ago...

Anyways...there's an Exposed Framework module that brings back App Ops.

The xPrivacy module is also pretty useful.




RE: Old News
By kleinma on 12/16/2013 11:52:49 AM , Rating: 5
Because if you told any random android owning non tech person "No worries, you can use that exposed framework module to bring back app ops", they would say "thanks, that makes perfect sense, I know exactly how to do that"...


RE: Old News
By Reclaimer77 on 12/16/2013 12:00:12 PM , Rating: 4
So you're saying a random non-tech person knew about app ops in the first place and was actually using it?


RE: Old News
By Zinc64 on 12/16/2013 1:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
Google's main business is advertising and collecting app data that facilitates that business.

Getting around Google's restrictions is probably beyond the scope of any "non-techie" anyways.

Any serious user is probably already rooted, running a custom recovery, and already using Xposed Frameworks.


RE: Old News
By piroroadkill on 12/17/2013 5:29:49 AM , Rating: 2
Only the advanced user would be using "App Ops" in the first place, so it's probably fine.


making my point again!
By rsmech on 12/16/2013 1:12:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Android users can choose to stick with 4.3 if they want to hold onto App Ops, but failing to update to the latest version of the OS could mean not receiving the most recent security updates


I restate like last article. OS updates provide better security for known threats. Which many argued was a non issue.

I restate like last articles. MS and Apple sell actual products and services, Google collects products (you) with their services.

This fact does not change that Android is a very capable OS. But please quit denying these facts. Better privacy does matter to some more than others.




RE: making my point again!
By Reclaimer77 on 12/16/2013 1:16:43 PM , Rating: 4
Microsoft sells your Bing and other data to targeted advertisers. I don't know why you keep pretending Google is so different.

Actual products and services? Lol please.


RE: making my point again!
By rsmech on 12/17/2013 5:11:00 AM , Rating: 1
Products and services. Are you saying MS scans office docs. The same as Google does Google docs. If the degree of scanning was the same office would be free. MS charges for Windows, if their data collection was equal to chrome it would be free. Does MS and Apple collect data, your an idiot if you think not. I can admit that. But you cannot admit that Google's only survival is data collection. Without it were would they be? It isn't android,chrome, Google docs. It's how many targeted customers they provide. They have nothing else. Take that away today from all three and where would Google be compared to MS and Apple? This is what you cannot admit.


RE: making my point again!
By rsmech on 12/17/2013 5:39:30 AM , Rating: 2
Did app ops work for you. I've never used Android so I'm curious? I would assume not if it was so buggy.


RE: making my point again!
By Reclaimer77 on 12/17/2013 8:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
I haven't spent a ton of time with it, but yeah I've noticed some apps could ignore the rules I set for them. Not sure if that's a bug or what.


Competetion
By Ammohunt on 12/16/2013 1:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
Google is acting like it doesn't have competition in the mobile markets. Privacy and security are synonymous in my book perhaps its time to back the effort of canonical to put ubuntu on mobile devices. I personally would much rather have a plain vanilla phone centric linux distro on my mobile device/Tablet.




RE: Competetion
By Reclaimer77 on 12/16/2013 1:58:05 PM , Rating: 2
Or you could root your phone and install any number of readily available apps to achieve whatever security goal you desire?

Android is still the most private and secure OS out there for mobile. iOS and Windows Phone doesn't give you the option to go outside the box.


So this is a big deal?
By woody1 on 12/16/2013 2:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
So this App Ops capability has only been around since August 2013. Did it really change people's lives so much that now they're pissing and moaning because it's gone? I mean, it might be a good idea, but most people were completely unaware of it and it's only been around for 3 or 4 months. Doesn't sound like it's an earth shattering event.




RE: So this is a big deal?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/16/2013 7:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
It was hidden, you needed an app to even access it. The number of people who even knew about it, much less used it, had to be tiny.


I wonder why...
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: I wonder why...
By troysavary on 12/16/2013 10:56:45 AM , Rating: 2
How is this even remotely connected to Apple? It is not biased, it simply reports the facts, Google took away the ability of users to set permissions for apps. No spin, no mention of Apple.


RE: I wonder why...
By PrinceGaz on 12/16/2013 11:01:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"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."


RE: I wonder why...
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/16/2013 12:27:27 PM , Rating: 1
Thanks Prince - you saved me the waste of time pointing out Troy's lack of reading comprehension.


RE: I wonder why...
By Reclaimer77 on 12/16/2013 11:40:55 AM , Rating: 3
If that was Googles goal, why would they include app opps in the first place?

The problem with app opps is that you could break phone and app functionality if you didn't know what you were doing.

People here routinely criticize Android for requiring users to "tinker" too much. iOS certainly would never have an App Opps. Hell you can't even see what permissions an app requires on installation. So come on, don't manufacture a controversy out of nothing.

And yes people are going to bring up Apple because it shows a double standard is being applied to Google.


RE: I wonder why...
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/16/2013 12:36:22 PM , Rating: 1
You really aren't the sharpest too in the shed are you.

How many stories has Tiffany posted that are in some way throws the stink at Android yet giving Apple a pat on the head in the same article?

How many stories have you seen Jason post that are giving Apple the pat on the back?

I call that bias son.


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