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Google announced several changes coming in Android P on its Developers Blog today. Among them is an important change to the way phone permissions work that aims to stop apps from having unnecessary access to your phone activity.
Previously, apps that wanted to access your call history could do so by acquiring permission for the PHONE permission group. Android P creates a new CALL_LOG permission group to cut down on apps acquiring information they don't need to function. The new permission group "gives users better control and visibility to apps that need access to sensitive information about phone calls, such as reading phone call records and identifying phone numbers," the blog post says.
One particularly disconcerting use case of the previous way phone permissions were managed was the PROCESS_OUTGOING_CALLS permission, which, if granted through the PHONE permission group, could redirect outgoing calls to unintended numbers. In Android P, it's being moved to the new CALL_LOG group.
Of course, new permissions don't do much good if users wantonly grant every permission an app requests. In the end, privacy and data safety will always depend in large part on the individual.
- Android Developers