Home OS, Apps and Services Google: Android L devices will be “NSA-Proof” out-of the box

Google: Android L devices will be “NSA-Proof” out-of the box

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.

Deidre Richardson is a tech enthusiast who loves to cover the latest news on smartphones, tablets, and mobile gadgets. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A, History/Music), you can always find her rocking her Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG Nexus 5 on a regular basis.


  1. The law can require you to unlock your phone just like it can require you to unlock a safe. This does not protect anything from a warrant, that is impossible, as it should be.

    • Unless, the stress of having my fingernails pulled out makes me “forget”… You know, like John Corzine forgot what happen with his depositors’ $2B in funds, or Lois Learner’s email data, etc. Oh wait, that’s right. Justice only applies to the little people. Never mind.

    • My understanding is that you can not be forced to incriminate yourself. So if there is incriminating material on your phone (you are stupid) you do not have to unlock it. I know for a fact apple can bypass the lock on apple devices, but at least from a few generations ago android could not easily be bypassed when you used the swipe lock.

  2. Goggle/FarceBook/rottenAaple/LynchedIN/VHorizon/AsTT are all WHO res in AMERICANS eyes, they slept in the same bed with NSA/FBI prying on American Civil Liberties/Privacy and have lost the TRUST, these WHO res are basically tryin to change the “linen” and get it laundered to regain TRUST, ONCE a WHO re always a WHO re.

    • Be honest…a regular resident like me have nothing to care about NSA access to my personal data…I dont’ give the shit…and I believe many americans too. It’s just the media make big deal out of it. It’s just those big guys with not-so-legal activities worried about NSA.

      • The problem is everybody including “you” AMERICAN CITIZEN is a person who can be suspect in illegal activities…so it applies across the board..in other words every AMERICAN CITIZEN is a “Guilty” unless proven “INNOCENT”..

      • Look, I don’t know about you but I break rules almost daily. Speed limits, voided warranties, not coming to a complete stop, etc. Now honestly I do not believe that makes me interesting to the NSA, BUT I imagine that someone I know knows someone that is more interesting than me. Lets be clear, it wasn’t just the NSA hoovering up all the metadata in the universe, it was the connections that metadata allows. For example if you have an acquaintance who is in regular contact with someone that is in contact with a terrorist organization then your life is open to increased scrutiny. And suddenly a trip to the bank 2 blocks from a mosque may get you on a no fly list or a terrorist watch list when all you needed was $40 from the ATM. A lot of things we do, without context can become very suspicious.

      • You have nothing to care about? How about your privacy? I can’t get over how people can be so indifferent. “I’m not doing anything wrong, so I’ve got nothing to hide”. Yes. Yes you do. It’s your privacy, your dignity, your individuality. My God, how sickening and embarrassing to consider you an “American”. What if this technology enables desperate governments to start billing you for every mile you drive, every minute you talk on your phone, or ever time you call numbers in specific area codes/prefixes. What if they charge a fee every time you walk more then 10 blocks from you home/work? Suddenly the things you think are free/harmless/legal are not any longer. But guess what? By then the system is in place to prevent you from speaking up against it, or rebelling. If this technology had been in existence when Paul Revere went to warn that the British were coming, they’d have known his plans before he even got on his horse.

      • Right “now” you are doing nothing to get yourself in trouble. But what about when the winds change? For instance, in Egypt the security forces just leaked private e-mails and chats and Facebook messages of gay Egyptians to Muslim extremists in the country. As we speak they’re getting beaten up and firebombed. I bet those people really wish their Internet traffic hadn’t been tracked illegally. Look it up, it was all over CNN and BBC. You assume that things will always be the way they are. I bet the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq wish they’d had a 2nd Amendment right about now, what with ISIS massacring them. The civil rights protections that the NSA is riding roughshod over were written into the Constitution for bad times, not for sunny days. The Founding Fathers put them there to protect your right to life, not to hide your porn habit. Once information is gathered, you never know who will get their hands on it or how it will be abused.

  3. Do not be fooled by this hype. The NSA will still have full access to all your data regardless of what Google and Apple say. They are simply doing some nice “window dressing.”

    Our government runs a Modern-Day Stasi State and thanks to the heroic freedom-fighter and whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden we now know that an army of private contractors working for the NSA and the US Military unlawfully collects and stores everyone’s IP addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone traffic, all your contact lists, all your text messages, passwords, GPS locations with dates and time, Facebook posts & pictures, LinkedIn pages & pictures, your search engine keywords entered (yes – even the keywords typed in but you don’t press the enter key), all web sites visited, all your credit card numbers, all your inbound and outbound e-mail messages, your voice-print, and facial image (for facial recognition devices planted around the world used to identify your movement). They have also now installed ultra-high resolution traffic cameras in US cities and on police cars that scan our license plate tags and store that information in databases and those databases are shared with the NSA. They store all that information forever, under your name, at the US Military’s new massive Utah Data Center and can pull it up at any time and look back in time at all your data. They can even freely tap into the microphone and/or camera on your smart phone, tablet, laptop, PC, and your automobile’s OnStar system, your xBox, capture live video chats, and any other similar Internet connected devices. Rest assured – if it connects to the Internet – the US Military can tap into it and illegally monitor you. And now we have learned the NSA has back door access into the entire line of RSA’s encryption tools.

    From Edward’s vantage point he learned that the NSA monitors Americans “even if you’re not doing anything wrong.” From “just sitting at my desk” Snowden said he had the “authority to wiretap anyone …” … “If I wanted to see your e-mail or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.” He also discovered that the NSA is “using the system to go back in time to discover everything you’ve done.”

    America is becoming scary … a N,a.z,i kind of scary.


  4. Apple never said NSA proof or something like that, only Android does and that BS. Apple said it didn’t have access to user’s personal data and couldn’t decrypt it.
    Android must BS a lot to claim this. Once, there’s court warrant, they have to hand over user data and it’s up to government to decrypt or extract that data. Apple claimed it had no interest in users’ data, but never claimed that it would not give data to government if it’s ordered to do so.

    • I don’t see any quotes in this article where Google claims that Android’s encryption is NSA proof. That claim seems to be nothing more than the author’s flawed perspective.

  5. Trust– there is no such a thing as “NSA proof”; More likely US company will never be allowed produce that kinda of product. And even if Google was “allowed” to make a phone like that, NSA will still be able to break it. It is a ruse, don’t fall for it.

  6. 5 years ago; I paid a kid working with the tor project to do a double encryption on a live thumb drive. Initially he did not understand why I went thru the trouble. The point was; if a judge ordered anyone to unlock the drive; they’d see a normal folder; but in the white space… would be a hidden folder with further protection. Never underestimate the U.S.A.; because everyone has to provide the intelligence services with a key (backdoor). Most are just too dumb to know about it; and google and others will apply slick ads to sell products. The fascist state has arrived; and it’s to late to turn back the clock. Of course; if you like fascism… it’s not such a bad deal. I for one could care less either way; and only worry about Gods judgment.

  7. Wait. So if Google has all their licenses to run as a US-based business, how come they can write Android to defy the NSA? This is like a payroll company tweaking their code to get around the IRS. Right? Or is the NSA doing illegal stuff? If so, why isn’t someone shutting them down? How in the world does this make sense in a nation ostensibly built on the even application of law? This is headache inducing madness.

  8. You young techies who were screwelled instead of educated in basic mechanics/electrical/printing/metal shop in 7 grade and the physical sciences/math thru 7-12 grades with a true physical education did not pickup on the commie/lib connection from the 60″s to the 1920’s when Hollywood paid for Russian revolution. The commie/lib/military complex have been in bed with each other since the A-bomb. A commie developed it with the military. How do you think the Russian got it so quickly. Even Fienstein husband is in bed with the military. This might go back as far as WWI. My nephew was 10 years to recover from scewell so conclusion “What do you expect from a king wearing silk satin pants” per the famous Allan Sherman (relative of General Sherman and descents from the Valley in LA?). Hopefully the libs will smoke their medical mary-gee-wanna and believe their own fake LA Times lib polls in the next election if they do not fake the vote as they did in CA in 2010 and nationwide in 2012 then recently in Scotland. See it went from Pasadena (faked Terminator vote at Jackie Robinson Center during antiunion special election, then Pasadena city council seat so a Robinson could be seated, then the 2010 CA State election when the CA sec of state went down and the LA County DA lost to SF DA to not appeal gay marriage, and then the 2012 election when never before precincts went 100% for a canditate, and the scottish poll showing the election to close to call then a 10% victory). So smoke your dope and be happy libs with the NSA. Or you can forget this on follow the money for 40 years for your own opinion.


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