Google Bringing Privacy Sandboxing to Android

Google is taking a page from Apple, laying the groundwork for privacy sandboxing in its Android operating system (OS)....
Google Bringing Privacy Sandboxing to Android
Written by Matt Milano
  • Google is taking a page from Apple, laying the groundwork for privacy sandboxing in its Android operating system (OS).

    Sandboxing refers to a practice where apps cannot access the data from other apps. Instead, they’re sequestered into their own “silos.” This can have significant stability benefits, as apps cannot interfere with each other. There are also privacy and security benefits, as apps cannot access data from other apps.

    While Apple already has sandboxing in both macOS and iOS, Google is just now preparing to add the feature to Android.

    “Today, we’re announcing a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android, with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions,” writes Anthony Chavez, VP, Product Management, Android Security & Privacy. “Specifically, these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID. We’re also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection, including safer ways for apps to integrate with advertising SDKs.”

    Google clearly wants to take a different approach than Apple, given their entire platform runs on advertising. As a result, the company wants to try to strike a balance between privacy and ad-based free services.

    “We realize that other platforms have taken a different approach to ads privacy, bluntly restricting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers,” Chavez continues. “We believe that — without first providing a privacy-preserving alternative path — such approaches can be ineffective and lead to worse outcomes for user privacy and developer businesses.

    “Our goal with the Privacy Sandbox on Android is to develop effective and privacy enhancing advertising solutions, where users know their information is protected, and developers and businesses have the tools to succeed on mobile. While we design, build and test these new solutions, we plan to support existing ads platform features for at least two years, and we intend to provide substantial notice ahead of any future changes.”

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