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Devices running Android 6.0 or higher will get permission auto-reset feature
by Paul Hill
Google is planning to bring Android 11’s permission auto-reset feature to devices running Android 6.0 or higher. This will give users more control over the data that apps can request. The feature will be delivered via an update to the Google Play services and should become available from December 2021.
The permission auto-reset feature works by resetting sensitive runtime permissions that a user has previously granted if the app hasn’t been used for a few months. In this way, users can be sure about what data the app has access to if they don’t use it regularly; with regards to the permissions, it’ll be as though they just installed the app.
In some cases, it would not be ideal to revoke permissions access so there are some exceptions to the changes. Google says Device Administrator apps used by enterprises will not have their permissions reset nor will those permissions reset that are enacted by enterprise policy. Additionally, developers will be able to ask users to switch off auto-reset for their app but users should be wary of the potential impact of doing this.
While users can expect to see this feature begin rolling out in December 2021, it could take until the end of March 2022 until all supported devices get the update. Despite the wait, it’s a nice privacy and security update and it’s good that Google could bring it to devices running Android 6.0, which was released in 2015.
By Usama Jawad96
Teams is getting Customer Lockbox so Microsoft cannot access your data without your approval
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft Teams is the online communication and collaboration tool of choice for millions of entities around the globe, including organizations and consumers. In fact, its popularity has soared so much during the pandemic that Microsoft is also integrating it at an OS-level with Windows 11. The company keeps updating Teams with a steady stream of features each month, and now, it has revealed that it is working on Customer Lockbox for the software.
For those unaware, Customer Lockbox is a capability that Microsoft offers across various services in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Azure. It ensures that while performing service operations and troubleshooting, Microsoft cannot get access to your information without your explicit approval.
While Microsoft engineers generally leverage from telemetry and debugging techniques to troubleshoot problems, in some edge-cases, they do require direct access to customer data. Customer Lockbox essentially adds the customer into the approval workflow at the final step so that they can decide whether they want to give Microsoft access to their information to do root cause analysis (RCA). Customer Lockbox can be toggled and all requests and outcomes are audited. Typically, when engineers request access to data via Customer Lockbox, they also give a timeboxed window under which they will perform their RCA and troubleshooting activities.
Microsoft has recently started tracking Feature ID 86190 on its Microsoft 365 Roadmap, which states that the company is bringing Customer Lockbox capabilities to Teams as well. The feature is currently in development with an expected release date of March 2022. The capability will roll out to Teams GCC, Worldwide (Standard Multi-Tenant), General Availability, and Web. Microsoft has not yet clarified what data on Teams will be protected by Customer Lockbox.
By Usama Jawad96
Google announces Private Compute Core Services for deeper network and ML model isolation
by Usama Jawad
Back when it announced Android 12 in May, Google also announced Private Compute Core. This is an open-source initiative that offers a sandboxed and secure environment that isolates services like Smart Reply, Now Playing, and Live Caption from the rest of the OS and apps. The idea is to keep your data private to your device and utilize the cloud in a privacy-preserving manner. Now, Google has further enhanced this initiative with Private Compute Core Services.
Google explains that a lot of Android features utilize machine learning to update models to offer you an experience tailored to you. With Private Compute Core Services, the company will ensure that these updates happen over a private path, such that Private Compute Core features like Smart Reply and Live Caption don't have direct access to the network. This will be done by leveraging from specialized open-source APIs which preserve privacy by removing personally identifiable information (PII) and use techniques like Federated Learning, Federated Analytics, and Private information retrieval, some of which it detailed in May too.
Google boasted that:
The tech giant has stated that it will publish the source code for Private Compute Core Services publicly so it can be audited by any security researcher.
By News Staff
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by Steven Parker
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Vodafone issues a warning of the risks of so-called sharenting
by Paul Hill
Vodafone has issued a warning about oversharing information about your children on social media which is calls sharenting. So-called sharenting is a pretty recent phenomenon and as such, will pose risks that people had not foreseen when uploading pictures and sharing details of their children’s lives online.
Speaking to Vodafone, Dr Claire Bessant, an associate law professor from Northumbria University, said the consequences of sharenting could include a loss of privacy via accidentally shared metadata, embarrassment and anxiety, ridicule or bullying, unwanted attention, denying kids the right to build their own online identity, the possibility of identity theft, and the misuse of images and videos by paedophiles.
Content that parents regularly share about their children online includes full names, images of their children not fully dressed, their children’s birth date (directly and from birthday photos being shared), and information about which school they go to which could put them in danger away from home.
Parents wanting to share photos and videos of their children online can take proactive measures to ensure that the content is not used for malicious purposes. For example, you can limit the audience of posts so only those you trust can see the content. Additionally, you can use emoji to cover children’s faces if you want to keep them anonymous – if you’re not confident doing this, you can also take photos from a distance to reduce facial details or take photos from behind their heads or over their shoulders.
Vodafone warned that it’s not only parents who have to be careful but also a child’s other carers who might think it’s harmless to share content online. In the case of older children, an expert talking to Vodafone said that parents should give their children a veto so they can choose which content gets shared online.