Sunday, 12 July, 2020


Android bloatware: Google pushed to take action in letter

Google Details ‘Joker’ Malware That Plagued the Play Store Claims It Removed 1,700 Apps Google removed 24 Bread apps in September last year
Melba Vasquez | 14 January, 2020, 08:40

Because these apps are pre-installed and can not be deleted as system apps, they may have more advanced permissions than a normal app.

Charity the British human rights organization Privacy International called upon the international conglomerate of companies Google Inc., which includes Google, with a request to change the policy of the preset applications on smartphones.

And if the applications can not be removed, users are effectively handing over their data to a possibly unknown or unethical party. Users are therefore completely in the dark about these serious intrusions.

"We, the undersigned, agree with you: privacy cannot be a luxury offered only to those people who can afford it". In an open letter sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the group of organizations that include the search engine company and Google's rival DuckDuckGo and the nonprofit organization The Tor Project have expressed concern about the vulnerabilities they face users due to preinstalled applications that can not be deleted and collected, shared and exposed their private data without prior knowledge or consent.

Pre-installed apps are most commonly found on cheap handsets.

Apps that come pre-installed by vendors are able to set up invasive permissions they want - including access to the microphone, camera, and location - without ever asking the end-user. The letter pulls a statistic from a study that found that 91% of Android bloatware doesn't even appear on Google Play. Firstly, that users should be allowed to fully delete any pre-installed app on their device.

They asked Pichai to allow Android users permanently uninstall the apps on their phones, including any related background services that continue to run even if the apps are disabled.

In a lot of cases, the users who get their Android devices infected with Joker malware would also discover that the app features would not match the app they installed. Since this is the real world unlike the fictional movie one, Google has responded fiercely with a crackdown of over 1700 apps on its Play Store which were all infected by the phishing malware known as Bread.

If a manufacturer does not adhere to these rules, the letter argues, then Google should refuse to certify the device: "We urge you to use your position as an influential agent in the ecosystem to protect people and stop manufacturers from exploiting them in a race to the bottom on the pricing of smartphones".

Privacy International, the driving force behind this initiative, also created a petition page where normal users can add their voice to this campaign. Consumers need to be protected against being snooped on by devices from the moment they purchase them. The Google reports also document when exactly Bread-infected apps made it into the system.

Please support this important cause by signing the petition today.

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