Android’s App Permissions Debacle

  • December 20, 2013

Writing for the Guardian, Charles Auther explores the implication of google removing the App Options that were introduced in Android 4.3 (released  mid-November), but was subsequently removed in Android 4.4.2, released about three weeks later.

Charles Auther:

The bizarre thing is that Android, which has always led Apple’s iOS in terms of customisation – choose your own keyboard, choose your own default apps – has now lagged in this key area by more than a year, in a field where people have become more and more aware that data matters, and permission matters – and the ability to revoke permission matters even more.

Android used to be ahead of Apple’s iOS by virtue of the fact that it did at least tell you what elements of your phone an app might access. That was in stark contrast to iOS, where before 2012 you didn’t actually know what an app was up to after you downloaded it. That led to the furore in February 2012 when it was revealed that the social startup Path was grabbing iPhone address books and uploading them to its servers.

Auther also linked to a very heated discussion on the subject on Google +, which involved Google‘s engineer – Dianne Hackborn:

+Dianne Hackborn But you have broken something for users, as Android’s permissions framework without App Ops is not fit for purpose. What you “intended” isn’t relevant – App Ops needed to be front and centre of Android’s UI for many years now. Android’s existing permissions are far too wide to be of any actual use, as we’ve seen recently with many rogue apps.

Essentially, without App Ops I will just have to drop Android as a platform – the security risk is just too great, and iOS is able to manage permission revocation properly.

Posted by | Posted at December 20, 2013 11:39 | Tags: , , ,
Storm is a technology enthusiast, who resides in the UK. He enjoys reading and writing about technology.

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