Yesterday I posted on the discovery of a code commit in Android P that prevents idle apps (those running in the background) from gaining access to your phone’s camera. This is a security measure and one that, until this point, Android hasn’t properly addressed. Now it seems there is a new commit that limits access to your phone’s microphone too.
The new commit has strikingly similar language to that of the commit found yesterday.
If a UID is in an idle state we don’t allow recording to protect user’s privacy. If the UID is in an idle state we allow recording but report empty data (all zeros in the byte array) and once the process goes in an active state we report the real mic data. This avoids the race between the app being notified aboout (sp) its lifecycle and the audio system being notified about the state of a UID.
This commit, like the one yesterday, essentially cuts off any app trying to gain access at a base level within Android.
All of this is good news for Android P and users of the platform. It means that you cannot be recorded by your phone’s microphone without you knowing it. It is another layer of security and privacy.
To be fair, doing any sort of recording – audio or camera – with the limitations on background apps in Android Oreo is pretty tough. But it can, theoretically at least, be done. Within Android P, it will be nigh impossible – theoretically at least.