Former NSA contractor-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden has changed the world of technology forever.
Having revealed how much information the NSA is privy to on personal mobile devices, Snowden has motivated tech companies Apple and Google are leading the way to prevent the NSA tactics that have allowed the federal agency to collect as much information on personal uses as it wants.
Apple, on the hit success of the iPhone 6 launch and sale this week, has said that iOS 8 will prevent the NSA from obtaining information the easy way. Now, search engine giant Google has joined the mix, stating that Android L will bring a feature to the forefront that, to date, has been available on Android devices but has remained an optional preference for consumers.
Google intends to encrypt data on all devices that run and receive the Android L update. As a result, only user passwords will grant access to user data. Not even police warrants will be able to access user data without user permission. While Google’s next big update is scheduled to arrive around October-November, it should also be pointed out that the data encryption will not prevent Google Hangouts text messages and chats from being intercepted by NSA tactics. The data encryption will occur for all other information on any Android smartphone and tablet, however, scrambling data so that it is not accessible by way of hackers.
Android L (still unnamed) has been said to have “Lollipop,” “Lemon Meringue Pie,” “Lemon Cake,” and even “Lion” (a Nestle treat) as potential names. Google has named its Android updates since purchasing the OS from Andy Rubin after desserts: Cupcake, Doughnut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat. Recent results show that KitKat is growing in user base but that some devices still bear Froyo and Gingerbread as Android consumers use their smartphones beyond contract expiration dates.
Apple has called out Google for selling user data to the NSA, so it’s nice to see Google fighting the NSA on this one. Whether or not the NSA will have trouble “forcing” users to hand over user passwords is another story entirely. Google has been accused in an antitrust issue of relaying people to its own answers on Internet searches to grab money from mobile ads.
Google is expected to have an HTC Nexus 9 in the works, with HTC planning to announce the new 8.9-inch tablet on October 8 and sales to commence on October 16. Google is also rumored to have a Motorola Nexus in the works as well, with the name of the device (Nexus 6 or Nexus 5.2, Nexus 5 –Second Edition) still up for debate.