The revelation NSA survillance has encouraged developers to safeguard people’s personal data. While companies like Canonical are working on pushing users towards sending more and more personal ‘meta’ data to their servers via features like Dash Search, CyanogenMod developers are working in opposite direction. They are working towards protecting user’s personal data.
Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, is working on a newprivacy feature which he calls “Run in Incognito Mode”. The feature is designed to keep personal data under user’s control and protect them from apps and service.
I’ve added a per-application flag which is exposed via a simple API. This flag can be used by content providers to decide if they should return a full or limited dataset. In the implementation I’m working on, I am using the flag to provide these privacy features in the base system:
* Return empty lists for contacts, calendar, browser history, and messages.
* GPS will appear to always be disabled to the running application.
* When an app is running incognito, a quick panel item is displayed in order to turn it off easily.
* No fine-grained permissions controls as you saw in CM7. It’s a single option available under application details.
He says that the “feature is designed explictly to help protect your personal data, and it will remain as such.”