Android P will stop apps from spying on you: Here’s how

Google Android’s next-in-line operating system (OS), Android P, will reportedly prevent background apps from accessing a device’s camera and microphone.

This will help protect users from malicious apps spying on their phones.

This came to light after media outlets noticed the code submissions on Android P’s open-source rule-sets.

The OS, that can be potentially named Pistachio Ice Cream, is expected to release in 2018.


Background apps wanting camera access will be issued error message
According to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), if any smartphone application running in the background will try to activate a user’s camera, it will receive an error code.

The software will do this by targeting the application’s unique user ID (UID) and determining when a particular UID is idle. In that state, applications wanting camera access will be issued an error message.

Microphones will register empty data for background apps
As for microphone usage, Android P will allow background apps to record but will register empty data until the apps become active. This will reportedly not affect legitimate apps like a voice chat client that, by function, require to remain active in the background.

Also read: 5G roll-out to begin nearly a year ahead of schedule


However, the update might hamper workings of security apps
Even though the update will be a welcome change given how malware is becoming increasingly smarter, it should be noted that such a feature will also prevent anti-theft apps from operating successfully.

Earlier too, security app Cerberus had suffered after Google asked it (with the intention to crackdown abusive apps) to notify users about being tracked.

Android O also features similar security update
This is not the first time Google is trying to make Android more secure for its users. Even on Android O, if an app wants to access a device’s camera, it has to notify the user that the application is still running in the background.

Also read: What is 5G, and why it is such a big deal

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