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Google blocks access to its apps on uncertified Android devices

Google has started blocking access to its apps on uncertified Android devices whose firmware was built after March 16

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Google 'search results' will improve. Pixabay
Google 'search results' will improve. Pixabay
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Google has started blocking access to its apps on uncertified Android devices whose firmware was built after March 16 which could cause trouble to users who like to load custom ROMs on their smartphones.

Android
Google blocks android apps. Pixabay

“Android is an open source operating system and a million other varieties have blossomed. If your Android device is certified by Google, you’re allowed to distribute Google’s official Android apps on it. If you’re not certified, you aren’t supposed to ship those apps,” The Verge reported late on Monday.

“Google is now checking the build date of your Android system image when you attempt to run Google apps. If you have an uncertified device and you’re running a version of the Android OS that was compiled after March 16, 2018, Google apps won’t work,” the report added.

Also Read: Paytm more preferred by Indian professionals than Google: LinkedIn

Users won’t be prevented entirely from loading ROMs but they will have to register their device IDs on a whitelist every time they undergo a factory reset. A custom Android ROM refers to a smartphone’s firmware which is based on Google’s Android platform.

These apps are being thought to be carrying viruses. Wikimedia Commons

“You can now register your device with your Android ID to allow Google apps to run on a device. There’s a 100 device limit per user, which might cause trouble for highly prolific ROM testers,” The Verge report added. IANS

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Google’s ‘Chat’ service a gift to cybercriminals: Amnesty

RCS is a communication protocol between mobile-telephone carriers and between phone and carrier

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The logo of Google.
Google Chat is gift cybercriminals. Pixabay

Google’s decision to launch a new messaging service called “Chat” without end-to-end encryption shows utter contempt for the privacy of Android users and has handed a precious gift to cybercriminals and government spies alike, Amnesty International has said.

Communications on the new “Chat” service will not be sent over the Internet but through mobile phone carriers, like SMS text messages, according to reports.

Google Chat is becoming more famous.

In a statement to The Verge this week, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the new service will not use end-to-end encryption and that Google is “pausing investment” in its existing mobile messaging app “Allo” which has an option for end-to-end encryption.

“Not only does this shockingly retrograde step leave Google lagging behind its closest competitors — Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s WhatsApp both have end-to-end encryption in place by default — it is also a step backwards from the company’s previous attempts at online messaging,” Joe Westby, a technology and human rights researcher at Amnesty International, said on Friday.

Also Read: Google Will Take Action If Apps Violate Its Policies

Amnesty International considers end-to-end encryption a minimum requirement for technology companies to ensure that private information in messaging apps stays private. End-to-end encryption is a way of scrambling digital data so that only the sender and recipient can see it.

When it is in place, even the company providing the service is unable to access the content of communications. “Following the revelations by CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, end-to-end encryption has become recognised as an essential safeguard for protecting people’s privacy when using messaging apps. With this new Chat service, Google shows a staggering failure to respect the human rights of its customers,” Westby said in a statement.

A Google picture.
The Chat is a security threat. VOA

In the wake of the recent Facebook data scandal, Westby said that Google’s decision is not only dangerous but also out of step with current attitudes to data privacy. “Google should immediately scrap it in its current form and instead give its customers a product that protects their privacy,” Westby suggested.

Google is going all in on building the Rich Communication Services (RCS). RCS is a communication protocol between mobile-telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is more rich, provide phonebook polling and transmit in-call multimedia. IANS