Greetings from York, Maine!
We are a house divided. I'm sure other households are like ours: half firmly in the Apple camp and the other half in the Android camp. And it is entirely possible that those in the Apple camp have been chatting up the latest iOS 14.5 update and the ability to block applications like it's the best thing since sliced bread. In case you missed it, our own Jennifer Bryant wrote about the update in this space a couple weeks ago.
This week, Google stepped up to the plate and announced new privacy features for Android that are remarkably similar to the recent Apple update. Both notify users when cameras or microphones are in use on their phones and when apps use information from clipboards, and both allow users to give applications their "approximate location" instead of a general location.
In a blog post on the Google website, the company wrote the update "will give users more transparency around the data being accessed by apps while providing simple controls to make informed choices." It stops short of requiring apps to request permission to track user information across third parties.
Users will still have to disable ad tracking altogether through the settings feature. However, there is one notable difference between the two updates: Android will have a "privacy dashboard" to give users "a simple and clear timeline view of the last 24 hour accesses to location, microphone and camera." Google said the privacy dashboard would be available to try during an upcoming beta period.
No doubt, the mobile and advertising technology worlds are undergoing seismic shifts and privacy is very much playing a significant role. Regardless of what side of the "house" you're on, it's good to know that privacy is a factor on both sides of the equation.
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