CyanogenMod Will Get Incognito Mode To Protect User Data

One of the best aftermarket firmware for Android devices is CyanogenMod. A lot of people use this in their devices since it doesn’t come with bloatware and offers features not found in a stock ROM. Some of the great features available are lockscreen gestures, phone goggles, OpenVPN, incognito mode, themes support, and a DSP equalizer.

The current Incognito Mode on CyanogenMod works when you are browsing a website. When activated the pages that you visited and files that you downloaded are not recorded in the browsing or download history. Cookies are also deleted as soon as you close an incognito window.

Steve Kondik, founder of CyanogenMod, wants to offer a new kind of incognito mode for Android devices. The new feature works by returning an empty response to a querying app. This means that if an app installed in your device asks for information such as contacts, messages, and browser history just to name a few it will only get an empty list. The only way an app will get the information is if you give it permission to do so.

A sample scenario is if you have the Facebook app installed in your smartphone. The app will be told that you have zero contacts, no calendar entries, and no message and browser history. It won’t be able to pinpoint your exact location since it will be told that your GPS is turned off. This feature can of course be easily toggled on and off through a panel.

In Kondik’s Google+ post he said that “I’m working on a new feature that will hopefully make it’s way into CM. It’s called “Run in Incognito Mode”. It’s a simple privacy feature designed to help you keep your personal data under control.”

“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.”

There’s no exact date as to when this feature will be arriving on CyanogenMod but it’s definitely something we are looking forward to.

via google+

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