Android privacy controls appear, disappear in 4.3 – 4.4 transition

Apparently what “the Google” gives, “the Google” can take away. Recently Android was being lauded for adding additional privacy controls to Android 4.3+, allowing users to install apps while denying some of the apps’ attempts to collect the user’s data. This feature was accessible by installing a tool like App Ops Launcher (pictured above.)

However, Google’s Android OS dev team has withdrawn the App Ops interface from the latest update. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), with Android release 4.4.2 the Google gods have withdrawn the App Ops interface. They claim it was “released by accident — that it was experimental, and that it could break some of the apps policed by it.” As EFF opines, “[s]o, for the time being, users will need to chose between either privacy or security on the Android devices, but not both.”

Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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  1. Isn’t their other apps that can do something similar for those of us that have no idea about how to get your device ‘rooted’ and running Xposed Framework? Like for instance, Zone alarm firewall on PC’s.

    By the way, if you want to be one who’s concerned about privacy, checkout the current license agreement for AVG –

    Here is just a very small part of the apparently very carefully worded (convoluted?) agreement, which I use here under fair-use policy and / or whatever other rights I may have.


    9. Privacy and Security.

    9.1 General. You agree that AVG may collect and share with its Affiliates and certain third parties certain information regarding the users of the Software and/or the Services, including certain personally identifiable information as well as certain information from the user’s Device, including (i) certain information about your Device software and hardware such as your IP address, operating system, information about the Software and its installed features, Web browser software and version, (ii) data concerning potential malware threats to your Device and the target(s) of those threats, including the file names, cryptographic hash, vendor, size, date stamps, information about your Device’s system checkpoints, which may include path, file and application names, (iii) copies of applications, files or programs that are deemed malicious or infected or could contain possible threats as well as information concerning the behaviors they manifested to be detected as malicious or infected and application settings and configurations, such as associated registry keys, (iv) information about applications and files that were wrongfully classified as malicious, meaning that they were allowed to run or be utilized by the user after detection, and (v) in case of your Device other than your personal computer, your email address, IP address, type and IMEI or MEID, operator name, phone number, SIM number and subscriber number, third party software installed on the Device, installation and uninstallation rates, language of the Device and its manufacturer, screen size and model of the Device and any other technical information needed for AVG to perform the Services according to this Agreement, the date and time, country and the IP address of the Device from which your Device connected to our back-end server, geographic location information based on GPS/WIFI/communications network location information. The Software and/or the Services may utilize such aforementioned information in order that product recommendations and important service messages may be communicated directly to your Device. AVG may also share your email address and personal information with selected AVG partners, distributors or resellers so they can contact you to provide you with local technical, licensing and customer support. AVG reserves the right to monitor your usage of the Software and location to ensure compliance with the terms of this Agreement. You hereby consent to AVG collection and use of such information, as well as direct communication of product and service messages to your Device and agree that AVG collection and use of such information will be further governed by the AVG Privacy Policy.


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