Android 11 system update from Google adds privacy controls

Even so, Mr Hall acknowledged that some of the privacy changes could prove timely.

They include:

  • the ability to give apps single-use - rather than perpetual - access to a device’s microphones, cameras and location
  • a permissions auto-reset function that retracts apps’ access to such functions if they have not been launched for a few months
  • limiting apps to launching the phone’s built-in camera app rather than a third-party alternative. This has been done to close a loophole that allowed some developers to harvest location data without the user’s say-so

“People often grant permissions without realising what they are doing as they just click on an option to accept all features, allowing an app to go off and do what it wants,” commented Mr Hall.

“So building in one-time permissions is actually quite a big deal, especially after some high-profile cases of microphones and cameras being accessed without users realising what was going on.”

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I hope Apple do more like that!

The thing that concerns me most is photos (as I rarely give apps microphone access) when you give an app read/write access to photos, can they download your whole photo library in the background without you knowing? I think it’s fair to say most people allow access so we can upload individual photos.

It would be a huge breach of privacy if they’re able to download our photos without us specifically saying it’s ok for them to do so. Not been able to find whether this is possible or not - anyone know?

I guess it will be possible, because we are not prompted to only allow the app to manage photos created by the app itself.

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