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53 Organisations Ask Google To Do Away With Pre-installed Bloatware In Open Letter

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Smartphone design Google

Privacy International and 52 other organisations have penned an open letter to the CEO of Alphabet Sundar Pichai asking Google to take action against “exploitative pre-installed software on Android devices”.

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The letter basically complains about the existence of pre-installed apps that can’t be deleted. Some of the reasons why the organisations who complained about pre-installed are as follows:

  • 91% of pre-installed apps do not appear on Google’s Play Store which is a problem because that means these apps are not subjected to the same security standards that apps on the Play Store
  • pre-installed apps can have privileged custom permissions that let them operate outside the Android security model

The open letter proposes 3 changes to address this issue:

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  1. Individuals should be able to permanently uninstall the apps on their phones. This should include any related background services that continue to run even if the apps are disabled.
  2. Pre-installed apps should adhere to the same scrutiny as Play Store apps, especially in relation to custom permissions.
  3. Pre-installed apps should have some update mechanism, preferably through Google Play and without a user account. Google should refuse to certify a device on privacy grounds, where manufacturers or vendors have attempted to exploit users in this way.

Apart from protecting the users the ability to uninstall these apps would also come in handy for users who find themselves unable to install new apps because of low storage whilst having applications they will never use on their phones.

We, the undersigned, believe these fair and reasonable changes would make a huge difference to millions of people around the world who should not have to trade their privacy and security for access to a smartphone.

We urge you to use your position as an influential agent in the ecosystem to protect people and stop manufacturers from exploiting them in a race to the bottom on the pricing of smartphones.

Open Letter to Alphabet

If you hate pre-installed applications as much as the 53 organisations who wrote the open letter you can sign this petition to get Google to improve this part of the Android experience…


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7 thoughts on “53 Organisations Ask Google To Do Away With Pre-installed Bloatware In Open Letter

  1. Please help me understand. Google doesn’t ship phones with bloatware but the OEMs and carriers are the offenders so are these letters directed to the proper recipient. Unless you categorise stock apps such as gmail as bloatware but these meet most if thier demands such as updates except that they can’t be unistalled.

    1. Google can act as the regulator since it makes rules for which devices get Android thus they can solve the problem by changing the requirements for Android to ensure that OEMs meet that standard

    2. Apps such as Gmail aren’t considered bloatware because as the article indicates the offenders are apps that aren’t on the Google Play Store (that aren’t subjected to the same security checks). Gmail meets the security standards required to be on the Play Store which is why it is there

      1. Thanks, hadn’t really thought of it in that way coz of how most consumers by their phones through carriers there. Carriers have always been a pain to Google given how they also slow down updates but I’d be interested to see if something comes out of this

        1. Not just carriers, even OEM software that comes pre-installed, branded by the device maker, that half the time you never use (aka bloatware)… like Samsung, Huawei, Sony etc.

  2. Thanks, hadn’t really thought of it in that way coz of how most consumers by their phones through carriers there. Carriers have always been a pain to Google given how they also slow down updates but I’d be interested to see if something comes out of this

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