When we install Android apps from the Google Play Store we are presented with a list of permissions required by each app. Seeing this, most of us chose not to download these apps. But now with Firefox OS 2.1, we will be able to enable or deny permissions as per our choice.
According to Frederik Braun, a Mozilla security engineer, Firefox OS version 2.1 will give users the ability to allow/disallow granular permissions for any ‘Privileged’ app downloaded from the Firefox Marketplace.
Mozilla promises that a future version of its Firefox OS will allow users to customize app permission experience that Android has yet to offer.
Let us first understand what Firefox OS is?
Firefox OS is the mobile operating system based on the Firefox browser’s engine. It is available for various lower mid-range devices such as the Flame, the ZTE Open, and the Alcatel OneTouch Fire, available in 15 countries, and the super-low end Cloud FX in India.
However, it is taking a different approach with respect to privacy. Firefox OS is planning to take a step forward of Google’s Android by offering granular application permissions, giving users more control over what data apps can access and collect from their devices.
Firefox OS 2.1, a future version, will provide users more control and better choices for their privacy. Users will be able to enable or disable individual permissions for any app they install from Mozilla’s Firefox Marketplace. Users can even adjust the setting to ‘Prompt’, so that the app will ask the user whether to allow or disallow permission every time it runs.
Frederik Braun says “In Firefox OS 2.1, the typical list in the Settings app will show users all the actions and will permit users to set them to Allow, Prompt or Deny”.
However, the Firefox OS 2.1 is not ready yet, and Firefox OS users won’t see it for quite a while. It is only listed on the Firefox OS release schedule as having a ‘code complete’ date, not a public availability date, added by Frederik Braun. Presently, Firefox OS 1.4 will be followed by Firefox OS 2.0, also with an unannounced availability, and then version 2.1 will follow.
Overall assessment of Firefox OS is that it has the makings of an excellent OS for Mobile Phones, however it is still in nascent stages and in next few months we will see a surge in the development arena as more and more developers start migrating their applications to be made available to Firefox users too.