Google really wants you to know it cares about your privacy.
On Tuesday at Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, Suzanne Frey, Google’s vice president of Android & Play Security and Privacy, announced a host of new features for Android 12 perhaps meant to assuage Android users worried about Google’s data collection and sharing practices. One of which, the Privacy Dashboard, aims to alert users to the far-reaching permissions requested and used by the apps on their smartphones.
Specifically, Frey explained, that the Privacy Dashboard will show “you what type of data was accessed, and when.” And yes, Frey emphasized, the dashboard will even let Android owners know what Google apps are up to.
“And we’ve made it really easy to revoke an app’s permission, directly from the dashboard,” she added. “We’ve also added an indicator to make it clear when an app is using your camera or microphone.”
Which, hey, that’s good! You should definitely know when an app has your camera or mic turned on.
Android 12 also aims to make denying all apps access to your mics and camera a simple process.
“If you don’t want any apps to access the microphone or camera,” explained Frey, “even if you’ve granted them permission in the past, we’ve added two new toggles in Quick Settings so you can completely disable those sensors for every app.”
The Privacy Dashboard, along with the camera and microphone indicator, are welcome — if overdue — additions to the Android operating system. Here’s hoping that this highlighting of the importance of privacy at Google I/O is more than just lip-service, and lasts longer than a passing phase.
Android 12 isn’t available just yet, but it’s expected to roll out sometimes this year.