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Android no longer reveals app permission changes in automatic updates

Change could heighten security risks for users.

by Dan Goodin - June 11 2014





Automatically updating Android apps could get riskier thanks to a change Google developers have made to the way the OS discloses new app permissions, such as the ability to send potentially costly text messages or track a user's precise geographic location.


Previously, automatically updated apps displayed explicit details when a new version gained additional privileges. For example, an app that previously tracked only coarse GPS coordinates would warn users if an update would begin receiving fine coordinates. Similarly, a newly assigned ability to send SMS messages would also be disclosed. Under changes implemented through the latest Play store app, neither new privilege is displayed if a user has previously accepted any other permission in the same category as the new permission. In other words, by accepting one permission from a category, users agree that every other permission in that category can be added without notification in future updates.


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