JanSt

Android 4.3 WiFi Always-On Feature

Updating to Android 4.3?
You may want to dig a bit deeper in your phone's settings menu.
A new, slightly hidden feature in Google's latest Android flavour is Always-On WiFi Scanning.
"Always-on" as in "even when you (think) you turned WiFi off" via the usual toggles.

The feature, so Google, serves "To improve location accuracy and for other purposes, Google and other apps may scan for nearby networks, even when Wi-Fi is off".

"Other purposes" could mean all kinds of things, of course.

So, if PRISM and other security and privacy concerns have already pushed you close to the edge, find out how to disable Always-On WiFi Scanning here

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/images/danger-free-wi-fi.jpg

Add a comment
9 comments

Andy247  Aug. 4, 2013 at 12:18

You'll be safe in your tin foil hat.

AhmadCentral  Aug. 4, 2013 at 14:25

Dat surveillance society.

The Xbox one scandal is making a bit more sense now. An always on device gives these companies all the info they'd ever need.

matt101101 / MOD  Aug. 4, 2013 at 16:28

Running Android 4.3 on my N2, this was off by default in my case and long may it stay that way.

satchef1  Aug. 4, 2013 at 18:06

Dat surveillance society.

The Xbox one scandal is making a bit more sense now. An always on device gives these companies all the info they'd ever need.


The Xbox One scandal makes about as much sense as an alcoholic warning a chronic smoker that smoking is dangerous. Xbox One - worrying. Mobile phones? Entirely normal. The Xbox is a static internet-connected device with camera and microphone. It is used for consuming media. The mobile phone is a mobile internet connected device with GPS, compass, two cameras and a microphone. It is used for... pretty much everything. Most people do the majority of their communication and web browsing via a mobile phone now. It has access to your contacts, your calendar, your location, enough data to work out what your interests are and who you socialise with. The usual retort to this is 'yeah, but Android is Open Source, so we don't have to worry!'. The OS is. The majority of the apps (including Google's own) aren't. Sticking my tin foil hat on, a quick look at the Permissions for Google's own apps raises a few eyebrows. The Google Search app wants permission to:

find accounts on the device
add or remove accounts
use accounts on the device
read Google service configuration
read contacts data in Google accounts
view configured accounts
acquire precise location (GPS and network-based)
acquire approximate location (network-based)
Send email
edit your email messages
read your email messages
send SMS messages
edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
view network connections
send/receive data from Internet
gain full network access
view Wi-Fi connections
read calendar events plus confidential information
add or modify calendar events and send emails to guests without owners' knowledge
read your own contact card
directly call phone numbers
modify, delete or copy the contents of your USB storage
pair with Bluetooth devices
read your Web bookmarks and history
record audio
read your contacts
read call log
modify secure system settings
modify system settings
access protected storage
send sticky broadcast
prevent device from sleeping
control vibration
run at startup
run in the background

change your audio settings
set an alarm
read sync settings

As the application is closed source, nobody has any idea how these permissions are used. So effectively, by having the Google Search application installed, you could be allowing Google permission to see where you are, what you have planned, who you are talking to, what you are saying to them (and when). You also give Google permission to message your contacts and/or modify calendar events and files written to the system storage (even 'secure' parts of it).

In terms of potential breaches of privacy, a games console and a mobile phone are in completely different leagues.

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 4, 2013 at 22:09

Don't get me wrong: PRISM is no surprise to me.
And I have experienced similar looooong before the internet.
I'm merely perplexed by people - paying money and investing time in software to prevent malware etc etc etc.... When 10s of thousands of people have their coffee at their desks in the morning and just log on to... well, whoever.
We have known for a while that Google didn't 'accidentally' collect WiFi data (incl. passwords)with their streetview vehicles. But hey, anyone suggesting as much was a tinfoil nutter.

We are frogs. Boiling frogs. We buy a nice beach towel and we call our friends and kids, "hey, come on in, it's nice and balmy"
I guarantee you, you needn't have done anything. Sh*t can hit you if it's your day.

And to don my tinfoil: Dontcha think MS's purchase of Skype for a ridiculous amount of money makes suddenly a whole lot more sense? MS have an entire department dedicated to cooperate with the FBI/NSA...

Do I care?
Actually, not much. 'We' put up with non-stop war - as long as the supermarket shelves are stocked with god knows what - we don't care much about the smallprint on those colourful boxes, either.

There's worse than having your Farcebook dissected.

AhmadCentral  Aug. 4, 2013 at 22:23

Don't get me wrong: PRISM is no surprise to me.
And I have experienced similar looooong before the internet.
I'm merely perplexed by people - paying money and investing time in software to prevent malware etc etc etc.... When 10s of thousands of people have their coffee at their desks in the morning and just log on to... well, whoever.
We have known for a while that Google didn't 'accidentally' collect WiFi data (incl. passwords)with their streetview vehicles. But hey, anyone suggesting as much was a tinfoil nutter.

We are frogs. Boiling frogs. We buy a nice beach towel and we call our friends and kids, "hey, come on in, it's nice and balmy"
I guarantee you, you needn't have done anything. Sh*t can hit you if it's your day.

And to don my tinfoil: Dontcha think MS's purchase of Skype for a ridiculous amount of money makes suddenly a whole lot more sense? MS have an entire department dedicated to cooperate with the FBI/NSA...

Do I care?
Actually, not much. 'We' put up with non-stop war - as long as the supermarket shelves are stocked with god knows what - we don't care much about the smallprint on those colourful boxes, either.

There's worse than having your Farcebook dissected.


I.... agree!

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 4, 2013 at 22:30

:p => ...

corgi74  Aug. 5, 2013 at 09:23

Dat surveillance society.

The Xbox one scandal is making a bit more sense now. An always on device gives these companies all the info they'd ever need.


The Xbox One scandal makes about as much sense as an alcoholic warning a chronic smoker that smoking is dangerous. Xbox One - worrying. Mobile phones? Entirely normal. The Xbox is a static internet-connected device with camera and microphone. It is used for consuming media. The mobile phone is a mobile internet connected device with GPS, compass, two cameras and a microphone. It is used for... pretty much everything.


But the Xbox One can watch you while you're cracking one off over Babestation

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 5, 2013 at 10:05

hahaha

Email:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.

Comment: