Android’s security and privacy systems have greatly evolved over the years, growing from a “one size fits all” permission system to something more fine-grained toggles. Of course, that has also meant that the system may have gotten too confusing and too scattered for users to bother about them at all. That may be in sharp contrast to how the public sees Apple’s privacy efforts on iOS and now Google is rumored to be taking further steps in Android 12 to improve its image of privacy.
Android’s current permissions system is already powerful, allowing users to grant or revoke access to specific features. At the same time, it also isn’t something easy to look for, especially with Android’s sometimes scattered settings. With the recent rollout of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency or ATT, Android’s privacy features and Google’s position on privacy are naturally put under the spotlight.
The Information, however, reports that Google is only taking baby steps in that direction. On the one hand, it does want to paint an image of a company that values privacy, especially considering what Google is notorious for. On the other hand, it also wants to be more careful because of how such privacy measures will affect advertising businesses, especially its own.
The report also claims that Google will be presenting new privacy controls for Android at the Google I/O summit this week. This will make it easier for users to reach apps’ privacy settings that have already been there in the first place, just not easily accessible. XDA theorizes that this is the Android 12 Privacy Dashboard that was leaked to it previously.
In addition to this dashboard, Android 12 is also expected to have indicators when there are apps using the phone’s camera or mic, just like when GPS is being used. These indicators are something that iOS already has and some will most likely paint it as Android just catching up. Then again, better late than never, as they say.