Google’s as yet unnamed Android ‘L’ update will include data encryption by default, a first for the mobile OS. The only way to see photos, videos, and other data stored on a device will be by entering the password.
Data encryption on Android has been possible since 2011, but it has always been optional, and few users actually turn it on. Default data encryption for Android puts it on a par with iOS 8, which offers the same degree of protection.
Both Apple and Google are improving privacy features, like encryption, to make users feel safer, and to try to prevent government agencies like the NSA from snooping. However, as Apple controls iOS updates, it can more easily push its security updates to its users. Google relies on carriers to push its updates to devices, meaning it will take longer for Android L’s default encryption to spread among Android users.
Both companies claim that they won’t have the keys necessary to decrypt data, so law enforcement agencies will not be able to request they do.
Android L already has a developer preview, and should get a public release before the end of 2014.
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