“App Ops” Privacy Feature Removed From Android 4.4.2 KitKat
When Google started rolling out Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to the Nexus 4 back in July, some users stumbled upon a very handy privacy feature, called “App Ops”, hidden in the Developer’s section of the built-in settings application, which enabled them to “install apps while preventing the app from collecting sensitive data like the user’s location or address book” — which I am pretty sure we can all agree is a rather useful security function to have on our devices.
However, it has been brought to our attention that Google has now removed this feature from the latest build of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. According to a Google representative, App Ops was implemented into 4.3 Jelly Bean accidentally and wasn’t yet ready for consumers to use, as it still had many bugs present which were unaccounted for and that needed to be eradicated before it could be rolled out to the general public.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF for short, says that Android should bring back this feature and introduce the ability for users to disable network access for applications that do not require internet services, such as, flashlights apps, wallpapers and some games.
The EFF is currently urging users not to update to the latest build of KitKat, despite the fact that it includes many security enhancements, speed optimisations and bug fixes, as it firmly believes that the previous version of the open-source OS is somewhat more secure.
We can only hope that a complete and public version of the Apps Ops feature will be available soon.