Google has released the latest iteration of its renowned mobile OS, Android 10, breaking from the decade old norm of naming it after sweet delicacies, as the Internet giant is done with fancy dessert names for Android. But, even more significant is the bevy of new security and privacy features coming to the mobile operating system.
While the most important upgrades are concerned with privacy, especially those that prevent apps from profiling you. As Android 10 will generate a randomized MAC address for the device, which unique identifier is used for the network hardware, and will require extra permissions to access the IMEI and serial numbers, which all uniquely identify the device.
Amongst the privacy-focused enhancements, is the control over how apps access a phone’s location - Android 10 brings a new dialog to let users choose if an app can have access to location, with options like at all times or only on running in the foreground.
Google also took steps to protect information around how apps interact with your contacts. As whenever you grant an app access to contacts, Android will not provide any ‘affinity information’ which organizes the data according to your most recent interacts. And this privacy features are not only for individual users, but organizations also gets more flexibility and privacy capabilities, such as when using corporate-owned devices, employees will experience even more privacy using their work device.
And Organizations can provision company-owned devices into work profile mode with zero-touch enrollment or other methods, so that employees can enjoy better privacy for personal reasons and IT admins can have more ways of managing company-owned and BYOD devices.
It will also offer new privacy section within the settings, to enable employees view all the controls in one place, coupled with more granular controls for location data that allow an app access to location only when the app is in use.
Android 10 will bring over 50 security and privacy improvements that's specifically targeted at organizations and employees, with enterprise ability to block installation of apps via unknown sources on devices with a work profile, to reduce organization-wide risk of malware.
The IT admins can also set a private DNS on a managed device, including the requirement of DNS over TLS to avoid the leaking of URL queries.
Google perhaps has been listening to feedback from its users who complained about phone sensors ability to implicitly reveal users details. More reason Android 10 will introduce new version to its ACTIVITY_RECOGNITON permission for apps that track physical activities, such as step count.
Additionally, Android 10 will require specific location permissions for apps requesting to access selected Wi-Fi, telephony, or Bluetooth functions. While another a new feature called scoped storage, will restrict app’s access to files on external storage, giving access to only its specific directory and media types.