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Privacy must not be a luxury offered only to those who can afford it

Metamorphosis Foundation joins Privacy International’s initiative against exploitative use of pre-installed apps on Android smartphones

On 8 January 2020, Privacy International, with the support of more than 50 organizations worldwide, sent an open letter to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc., a mother company of Google, requiring Google to take action against the use of pre-installed Android smartphone apps. This initiative sends a warning but also calls for action by smartphone manufacturers who put profits ahead of users’ privacy by installing apps on low-cost devices.

The request to Google is clear- review the substandard privacy and security settings embedded in low-cost smartphones that relate to pre-installed apps which cannot be deleted and which may compromise their privacy. The recommendations concern the provision of:

  • the possibility for users to permanently delete pre-installed apps as well as all background services;
  • the same security and privacy features of pre-installed apps as those available on Google Play Store apps;
  • the same update features, preferably through the use of Google Play update mechanisms and without a user account.

Additionally, it is recommended that Google should refuse to certify smartphones whose manufacturers or vendors are attempting to compromise the privacy of users through pre-installed apps.

The full content of the letter can be found at the following link  https://action.privacyinternational.org/node/9.

The Metamorphosis Foundation, through the program Human Rights Online, is striving to take the lead in the human rights online advocacy process, helping communities cope with the enormous changes resulting from the increasing impact of new technologies. Metamorphosis focuses on protecting privacy by enhancing the capacity of citizens, institutions and the business sector to operate in a digital society.