Google says Android L will protect users from government surveillance
The next version of Android will encrypt data by default in an effort to reassure users their personal information is safe from the prying eyes of government surveillance programmes, Google has confirmed.
Android has been able to offer at least some encryption since 2011, but this might not be obvious to all users as it needs to be switched on. Android L will ensure this happens automatically so only a person with a device’s password can access pictures, videos and messages.
Android L encryption
“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement,” Google told the Washington Post “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”
The move brings Android L in line with iOS 8, which will also encrypt user data to the point that not even Apple would be able to access a device without the passcode. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook outlined his company’s commitment to privacy in the face of growing concern about state surveillance.
However it has been pointed out that encryption is likely be more common on iOS devices as users are more likely to upgrade to the latest version whereas the Android ecosystem is much more fragmented. Although newer Android handsets will come preloaded with Android L, older devices will be at the mercy of their manufacturer.
According to Google, Android 4.4 KitKat still isn’t the most popular version of the operating system, with version 4.1 Jelly Bean present on 25.1 percent of devices compared to KitKat’s 24.5 percent share.
How well do you know Google’s secrets? Find out with our quiz!