Task Manager kills privacy


  1. I'm amazed to find no discussion of this:

    Android/Google is at it again, not giving a rat's you know what about privacy. Everyone is raving about the new Task Manger in Ice Cream Sandwich, which gives snapshots of open applications and allows you to swipe them closed.

    This means your recently open emails, recently open text messages, recently open photos, etc. are viewable through Android's new Task Manager (which you get to by long-pressing the home button), REGARDLESS whether you have those apps protected behind an app manager security lock.

    And Android provides no settings to override this "feature."

    In other words, unless your whole phone is security locked (which some people don't like to do so they don't have to go through the repeated process of unlocking, or to make it safer to access the phone in driving mode, or to enable good Samaritans to get to the dialer and return a lost phone), anyone who picks up your phone can see at least portions of your recent texts, emails, photos, etc. simply by going to the Task Manager.

    Good job Google. You've been miserably failing at privacy for two decades now.

    (Also, as long as I'm being the Grinch, some of us don't want to listen to your power up and power down jingles, say, for instance, if we're in class, in the library, or in court. Would it kill you to provide some user defined environment settings once in a while?)

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  2. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice VIP Member

    To be fair, the phone is as secure as a user makes it. If someone gets your phone them they'd likely also have access to all of your emails, contact settings, etc. Those who want to avoid that can easily set a pin/password/pattern/face unlock.

    In fact, ICS goes as far as to include an option to put your CUSTOMISABLE contact info on the lock screen.

    Sorry, but if google has failed to to provide adequate security for 2 decades, why continue to support them??
  3. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Honestly I'd think this a bit rather pointless. The thumbnails are too small to even bother straining your eyes to look at. I'm already using a tablet, and the text on the thumbnails are too small to read even with a magnifying glass.
  4. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    On many models, turning off the ringer sound will quiet the phone on power down and on power up.

    And I believe that a long press of home has always been able to bring up recent apps, it's a bit different in presentation in ICS.
  5. To Kelmar:
    The point is that setting a pin, password, pattern or other unlock -- on the phone or any individual application -- DOES NOT prevent ICS's new task manager from displaying thumbnail screenshots of recent browser, email, text, etc. activity.

    To chanchano5: The thumbnails ARE NOT too small to read thetext is displayed, including the names of senders/recipients, the content of emails/text messages, or the website last browsed and what is displayed on it.

    To EarlyMon: A long press of the home key has always brought up recent apps. But only since ICS does it bring up thumbnails displaying text and activity. As for the boot/shut down tunes, it's true that reducing the ringer to silent silences these tunes. But who wants to have to do that every time they turn their phone off?

    Bottom line: ICM's task manager displays revealing thumbnails of all currently loaded applications, bypassing all privacy and lock settings, making a mockery of google's/android's supposed commitment to privacy.
  6. Kelmar

    Kelmar Done by choice VIP Member

    I totally see (and to an extent) can agree with where you are coming from. I just look at it as something that there are already in systems in place to prevent.

    To get to that point someone would have to unlock the phone first. If the phone is locked (or set to lock after pressing the power button or xx minutes of inactivity) then you can't access the ICS Task Manager. That is, our privacy is as much as we want it to be. If you aren't worried, don't make a lock. If you do care or are worried, use one of the lock methods.

    :)
  7. T.M.M.L

    T.M.M.L Well-Known Member

    Greetings headache,

    Like Kelmar said, a auto-lock time out setting coupled with a pin lock entry code secures your phone from prying eyes.

    If your worried about someone rummaging through your phone after you've loaned it to make a call, then man don't lend out your phone.

    If the desire to be of help over rides your paranoia, simply pull up the task manager, press the remove all, and poof all evidence of what you were doing is gone.

    You seem to be making a issue out of something that's not really an issue. If there was no way around any of the things that your bringing up, then I would be on your side all the way. This isn't Apple, you don't have to wait for them to supply you with the way to do things.

    The sound issue can be solved with the app Audiomanager. You can set up various profiles that can be accessed easily.

    Hope that you don't take this as a attack, because it's not. Just commenting on your perception of things.
    w_bovine likes this.
  8. aysiu

    aysiu Well-Known Member

    OP, I can see where you're coming from, but what Google implemented makes 100% sense, and your suggestion makes only 50% sense.

    If you want to secure your phone for privacy purposes, it's best to secure the whole phone.

    The idea that you keep the phone itself unlocked all the time but then just don't want thumbnails of apps displayed is not good security/privacy implementation. It is not based on a typical use case scenario. Is your scenario valid? For you, yes. Does that mean that Google isn't doing its job for everyone else? No.
  9. With all respect to those who advocate whole phone lock as a privacy solution, two points: (1) Android also displays missed calls on the lock screen, whether one likes it or not, with no setting to override -- a flagrant breach of privacy, and (2) unless privacy is part of people's daily diet and insistence (not just on their own behalf, but on behalf of others, as a matter of basic best practices security), we're going to keep losing it, brick by brick.

    The simple fact is that Android designers obviously did not consider the privacy concerns inherent in Task Manager thumbnails which display pieces of apps, including recently activity, because they are not thinking about privacy. Else, why would they display missed calls on the lock screen with no override? In essence, their attitude is the same as the dismissive attitudes of people responding to this thread.

    The design is also disrespectful to app designers who, for instance, incorporate the password or pattern protection into their apps. Their lock protection does nothing to prevent Android's Task Manager from displaying recent screens of otherwise locked apps. Why? Again, becuse Android designers obviously don't care/aren't thinking about it/aren't being pushed by the public.

    If the purpose is user control and flexibility, a user should be able to lend out his/her phone, unlocked, without having to expose private communications to the person who borrows it. There is no reason not to afford this protection. If it is easy to design, it doesn't hurt, it only helps.

    Either people care about privacy as a matter of basic public policy and design or they don't. And if they don't (which seems to be the case more than not), then we can keep kissing it good bye.
  10. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;) VIP Member

    Lol i forgot about this crazy thread :D
    Good news mate. If you root your phone theres a mod that gives you the old Gingerbread style recents page (task manager) :thumbup:
  11. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Well I wouldn't exactly call 3 missed calls showing on a lock screen "a flagrant breach of privacy." There's no phone numbers shown, unless one unlocks the phone and goes into the call log. Same for SMS received.

    Sure that's up to you if you wish to clear it or not, before handing your unlocked phone to any third parties, strangers, or anyone else you don't trust. ...and if you got people looking over your shoulder, they're going to be seeing everything you're doing anyway.

    Yes it displays the number of missed calls, but phone numbers are NOT shown unless you unlock it.

    Keep your phone locked, Do you allow strangers free access to your wallet or PC, without you being present?

    Treat your phone like your wallet. It's personal and private. And if people choose not to....well...they might find they got no money left in their bank accounts. If a person needs to borrow your phone, usually it's only for a phone call, you might want to make sure they're not rummaging around your emails, SMSs, or anything else they shouldn't be looking at, same goes for any smart-phone. If it's a 911/112/999 emergency call they need to make, it doesn't even have to be unlocked.

    TBH I can't actually remember the last time I lent my phone to someone, reason is almost everyone has their own phone these days, and you may lend it because their battery is flat or they got no minutes left.
  12. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Yeh the OP necrobumped his/her own thread. Don't think I saw it the first time round.
  13. dibblebill

    dibblebill Well-Known Member

    There's apps that provide a "private" mode for letting strangers use your device with privacy.

    I find his arguments against Android laughable- if you don't like it, go get an iPhone. :eyeroll:
  14. BigRedGonzo

    BigRedGonzo Well-Known Member

    Honestly, its sounds to me like someone's wife "discovered" something that she wasn't intended to "discover." If you are going to let anyone else look at your phone, you are open to what ever level of honesty that they provide, not you or your phone. Its sorta like your medicine cabinet in your bathroom. You put the condoms and Preparation H in there so that people won't see them, but the first thing they do is look in it when they get in the bathroom. The best bet for Headache is to leave his phone in his pocket.
  15. drowe

    drowe Well-Known Member

    And maybe other things....
  16. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

    Exactly. Anyone concerned with privacy shouldn't let their smartphone out of their hands.

    However, if you must lend others your phone but have concerns about the 'recent apps' list revealing too much.... simply swipe them away prior to handing over the handset. Empty list = nothing to see.
  17. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;) VIP Member

    I just remembered the mod. Its XuiMod module for Xposed Framework :thumbup:

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