Google Quietly Removes ‘Privacy Option’ In Latest Android Update

Android has undoubtedly become the clear leader among the mobile operating systems. However, Google Inc., the current owner and developer of the OS, has subtly removed a very vital privacy setting.


Google has scrapped an experimental ‘Privacy’ feature from its Android mobile software that allowed users to prevent apps from collecting personal information such as address book data and a user’s location. Though the current crop of smartphones (up to Android 4.4.1), have this feature, the next update; Android 4.4.2 doesn’t seem to have the same.

Why is a single feature so important?
Google has been adding and deleting many features from Android in the past. In an attempt to tweak and improve the OS, Google has made some elementary and some cosmetic changes to Android. Perhaps Android has been the most updated and modified Mobile OS so far, as Google constantly seems to be tinkering with it.

However, this singular feature will have a very deep impact on the usability. This removal means that owners of smartphones using Android 4.4.2, the latest version of the world’s most popular operating system for mobile devices released this week, must provide access to their personal data in order to use certain apps.

It is an obvious fact that Google services can work much better and quicker if users allow their data and location to reach Google servers. However, privacy conscious users could easily choose not to share their private information. Such users could easily tolerate slower, limited or degraded performance of the apps in lieu of privacy protection. But now that option doesn’t exist.

Why can’t users share this information?
Google has built a reputation of being a reliable company which protects user data and privacy zealously, but the same trust can’t be extended to third-party apps. Many third-party apps for Android devices, like Shazam and some simple flashlight apps too, ask for access to personal information that clearly does not always have any connection whatsoever to the app’s functionality.

Privacy has always been and always will be a sensitive issue. A company spokesman said the feature had been included by accident in Android 4.3. Shouldn’t Google keep the same?


Image Source | threatpost

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