It’s an annoyance that has been around since Android first launched back in September 2008 – Android Bloatware. It seems now that over 50 company’s have also had enough and have written an open letter to Alphabet and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, about exploitative pre-installed bloatware on Android devices and how Android bloatware may pose major security risks.

The open letter, which has been put together by over 50 organisations that include Privacy International, Digital Rights Foundation, DuckDuckGo, and Electronic Frontier Foundation (but few others that anyone has actually heard of) states that all Android OEMs pre-install their devices with apps that cannot be deleted, which thanks to their custom privileged permission, may and can cause a bypass of the Android permission model.

They can give permission for the users’ device to bypass security and have the ability to gain access to the microphone, camera, and location without user intervention. This then gives many smartphone OEMs the ability to collect user data without their explicit permission and enabling the Android OEMs to use it for their own benefit.

The group has now asked and made suggestions for Google to make changes that will strengthen privacy and user data by enabling how Android handles pre-installed apps (ie. bloatware) on devices going forward, which includes the ability for users to permanently uninstall all pre-installed apps on their devices.

The letter also suggests and requests that all pre-installed apps go through the same scrutiny that all apps currently do to be listed in the Google Play Store. They also suggest that all pre-installed apps have the ability to be updated through Google Play Store, even if the device does not have a user logged into it. They also request the Google shouldn’t certify devices on privacy grounds if they detect that an OEM is trying to exploit users’ privacy and their data.

While Google has made a number of privacy-focused changes in the latest version of Android (Android 10), there is still room for improvement and certainly this is something that would be an interesting development should Google agree to these measures. It would no doubt be welcomed by a vast majority of users.

Source: Neowin.
Source 2: Privacy International.
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    Luke Roberts.
    Luke Roberts.
    9 months ago

    One word…

    Pixel.

    Jeni Skunk
    Jeni Skunk
    Reply to  Luke Roberts.
    9 months ago

    Not viable, if you use real headphones, and/or microSD for storage expansion.

    Paul D
    Paul D
    Reply to  Luke Roberts.
    9 months ago

    Three words: still have bloatware
    First thing I do with Pixels and Nokias is fire up adb to remove, or at least disable, all the Google junk I don’t need.

    David Sheedy
    David Sheedy
    9 months ago

    Load Lucky Patcher and delete ANYTHING from your Android

    Jeni Skunk
    Jeni Skunk
    Reply to  David Sheedy
    9 months ago

    Without root, it’s a waste of space.
    From the Lucky patcher website:

    “Lucky Patcher (No Root) Latest Version Download”
    “The app can uninstall stock or system app (only for rooted device) and backup installed apps and games.”

    LU99KE
    LU99KE
    Reply to  David Sheedy
    9 months ago

    So… to avoid bloatware… you would install an app from outside the play store, accessible via a random site… that specifically tells you to DISABLE Google Play Protect ….. and you think THAT is a safe / wise thing to do? As a note… the site says that the APP has over 1 billion downloads….. ahh….. there are only just over 1 billion android users… and even allowing for the same person downloading multiple versions…… it would make it far an away the mostly highly used app… I think Google messages, the sms app in all android phones, only has… Read more »

    Bruce
    Bruce
    Reply to  David Sheedy
    9 months ago

    I wonder how many readers looked up ‘Lucky Patcher’ after reading this post. As has been noted, you simply can’t uninstall system apps unless your phone is rooted – and if it is, you don’t need Lucky Patcher.

    Ray
    Ray
    9 months ago

    I don’t mind manufacturers having “their own” pre-installed apps – like Samsung’s take on Messages, the Dialer etc. I get it and I think it’s reasonable – after all, you’re buying a Samsung device.

    What really shits me and is perhaps one of the major reasons I avoid Samsung, LG etc is apps like Facebook, Microsoft Word, Excel etc that get pre-installed and can’t be removed. And the games – ***k me the freaking games!!

    Jeni Skunk
    Jeni Skunk
    Reply to  Ray
    9 months ago

    Examples of the problems with manufacturer pre-installed replacements for Google apps are:
    That the Samsung own apps use the same icon and app name, as the legitimate Google apps. This makes it hard to tell what the real app is, in your app library.
    That the Samsung own apps keep trying to launch in the background, even after you’ve killed those app processes. Wastes system resources and power.

    Jeni Skunk
    Jeni Skunk
    9 months ago

    Odds on, Samsung will kick up a major stink about such a restriction being placed on what they can get away with, with their bloatware.

    Tom Sekulic
    Tom Sekulic
    Reply to  Jeni Skunk
    9 months ago

    Samsung Push notifications comes to mind first.