Google adds continual app scanning to Android's security arsenal

In today's open source roundup: Google beefs up Android app security. Plus: Why Netflix's streaming selection stinks, and why I don't care about the end of Windows XP

Google has been under fire recently for fake apps appearing in the Google Play store. This plus malware problems has motivated Google to beef up Android's app security. The company announced on the official Android blog that it was adding continual app scanning to Android.

Building on Verify apps, which already protects people when they’re installing apps outside of Google Play at the time of installation, we’re rolling out a new enhancement which will now continually check devices to make sure that all apps are behaving in a safe manner, even after installation. In the last year, the foundation of this service—Verify apps—has been used more than 4 billion times to check apps at the time of install. This enhancement will take that protection even further, using Android’s powerful app scanning system developed by the Android security and Safe Browsing teams.

More at Android Blog
Google Android Continual App Scanning
Image credit: Android Blog

I'm glad to see Google doing this, it looks like it might help with apps and permissions, but I'm not sure how it will stop fake apps from appearing in the Google Play store. I think Google might still have apps like Virus Shield showing up from time to time if they don't beef up their vigilance before apps even appear on Google Play.

Why Netflix's streaming library stinks

Techdirt has an interesting look at "permission culture" and how it has affected the selection of movies and TV shows available on Netflix's streaming service.

Why can't movie-streaming sites deliver the selection of movies that customers obviously want? This was the question posed by a recent New York Times column, comparing undersupplied services like Netflix with unauthorized platforms like Popcorn Time. The answer, the Times explains, is windowing—the industry practice of selling exclusivity periods to certain markets and platforms, with the result of staggered launches.

The problem is that, unlike earlier movie-rental options, streaming rights fall fundamentally within a permission culture. Netflix is a great illustration of what's gone wrong here. It's gone from having a nearly unrivaled catalog of films available to rent to being the butt of Onion jokes. What happened: It shifted from a system where nobody had a veto power over its operations, to one where it had to get permission and make deals with Hollywood. Sometimes it's difficult to find the concrete costs of living in a permission culture, but the decline of Netflix's selection is an important cautionary tale.

More at Techdirt

I have no sympathy for the folks in Hollywood who block access to their content by services like Netflix then wonder why so many people pirate that content. Duh. It doesn't take a genius to realize that times have changed, we aren't living in the 1980s any more. If Hollywood won't put its content on Netflix, then some users will simply get it via the pirate sites.

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