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Android's Privacy Game-Changer

Android's Privacy Game-Changer
Photograph by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

It looks like the latest version of Android has an interesting little feature tucked away: granular controls for app permissions. The Android 4.3 feature, called “App Ops,” has just been flagged by Android Police on Friday, and it looks like it could be a game-changer when it comes to privacy.

By way of example, App Ops lets the user turn off various pieces of functionality in the Facebook app, such as location or the app’s ability to tap into the user’s phone contacts. It also informs the user when the app last deployed specific functions—a handy way of finding out what’s causing all that battery drainage. It’s all pretty buried, although some enterprising soul has already created an app to allow straightforward access to the feature.