Mountain View’s next version of its mobile OS will feature improved data encryption as a default feature. This means that privacy is no longer “powered by Android,” as it has now become an obligatory characteristic.
Recent events (the Snowden affair, leaked celebrity pictures, etc.) have convinced tech companies that lack of proper encryption can represent a threat to people’s privacy. Government agencies and hackers are equally dangerous, but not everyone is able to put their hands on a Boeing Black or a Blackphone. In this context, smartphone manufacturers and mobile OS developers need to find a way to make data encryption a default trait of their products. Google is among the first ones to announce major changes in this department.
When asked by eWeek about details regarding the enhanced privacy of Android L, a Google spokesperson declared that “For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement. As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”
Google is not the only one to offer data encryption by default in its mobile OS, as iOS 8, the latest mobile OS to roll out of Apple’s hands, worships privacy in an equal way. Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out in a recent statement published on his company’s website that “At Apple, your trust means everything to us. That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled.”
Cook emphasized that he wants it to “be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.” I guess all this emphasis was needed after the numerous times Apple’s privacy policies have been criticized this year.
Back to Google’s announcement, though, it’s great to see that the privacy tools required for data encryption will no longer needed to be activated by users, and will become a default feature of Android Lollipop or Lion, or whatever its delicious name is going to be.
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