The internet is a mysterious and magical place full of Wikipedia rabbit holes, animated GIFs of Ron Paul, and cat videos as far as the eye can see. There are also plenty of ads watching which of those things you are looking at. If that makes you uncomfortable, maybe Ghostery is the browser for you.
Writing for Android Police from my home office in Virginia, it's not every day that I get to report on something somewhat close to home. But here it is. A Virginia Circuit Court judge has ruled that while police officers cannot compel a person to give up their passcode, they can demand someone use their fingerprint to unlock their phone.
Judge Steven C. Frucci made the ruling this week, saying that giving a police officer your fingerprint is similar to providing a DNA or handwriting sample, something the law permits.
There's a certain permanence to most instant messaging apps. The second you hit send, that's it, the message is out of your hands. You better hope you sent it to the right contact, fixed those embarrassing typos, or spelled their name correctly. Unless you're using the latest version of BBM, in which case you can call take backsies.
Now when you send a message by mistake, you can simply tap the retract button.
Handing over your phone to a friend or acquaintance who "just needs to make a call" can be a little nerve-wracking. Sure, this person probably won't poke around in your email or secretly send your private pictures to their Dropbox account, but you would feel better if you could be certain. Lollipop has just the feature to keep your phone secure in the hands of your friends: Screen Pinning. Now you can lock a single app into the foreground, and nobody will be able to sneak a peek at your web history.
Say it with me now: piracy is bad. There are ways to get free copies of just about everything online, but even setting aside the legal and moral aspects of it, doing so can come with the risk of infecting your computer with something icky or falling victim to a phishing attempt. People who know their way around the woods will continue to be able to take advantage of things, but Google's working on reducing the likelihood that the average user will end up in a place they don't want to be.
At the Google I/O 2014 keynote, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to let us know that the L release of Android is set to make massive improvements in security for the enterprise as well as regular users. The Washington Post has received word from Google that gives us another glimpse of what we should expect in the next version. It seems that devices shipping with Android L will have disk encryption enabled by default.
All the apps on your phone feed log data into the Android logcat, but maybe you don't want the log to have all that information about what you're doing on the phone. If you're rooted, a new app from Wanam can help. Stop Log disables all Android loggers at the system level.
Update, 9-4-13: a Verizon Wireless spokesman reached out to say that the wireless provider hasn't been fined by the FCC, and that the landline services provider (providers of home Internet and cable services) is the one being fined. Verizon and Verizon Wireless are technically separate companies. The headline and story text have been altered to reflect this.
There are a lot of good reasons not to like Verizon. But the Federal Communications Commission has taken particular exception to at least one of Verizon's practices from way back in 2006.
The problem with sharing files over the internet is that everything is permanent. Digify doesn't fix this issue, but it sure attempts to by taking the Snapchat approach to privacy and applying it to files. Rather than giving someone permanent access to a document, it gets a time limit from the sender and initiates a self-destruct at said time. It even goes so far as to provide information on who has opened the file and how long they've interacted with it.
The latest version of the Play Store hit the scene a little over a week ago and introduced a tweak to the way permissions are displayed at install time, and it left some people feeling a little...uncertain. Gone is the ugly wall of poorly spaced, semi-specific permissions. The replacement is a short set of simplified categories, each with crisp-looking icons and buttons that reveal a brief description when tapped. Google filtered through roughly 145 permissions and narrowed them down to a dozen groups, plus one bucket for anything that remains.