Google adds new privacy controls in Android 11 launch

A number of privacy controls featured in Google’s release of Android 11 yesterday.

Chief among these is the function to allow one-time permissions, or single-use access to the microphone, camera and location permissions, rather than allowing ongoing access after permission is initially granted.

In addition, Android now includes “auto-reset” permissions for apps that have remained unused for a while, meaning that you will need to re-grant permission to the app if you wish to use it again.

“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,” said Chris Hall, from the consumer tech website Pocket-lint, speaking to the BBC.

“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.”

In addition, privacy and security fixes can be sent to user devices from Google Play, in the same way that apps are updated, meaning that users don’t have to wait to receive a full OS update.

For Android Enterprise customers, the roll-out adds tools for IT departments to manage company-owned devices without monitoring the personal activity of users.

The Android release follows the news that Apple has delayed the introduction of new privacy features in its iOS operating system until the new year.

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