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Google follows Apple’s lead by turning on automatic encryption in Android L

Google is adding automatic encryption to the next version of its Android OS that will be able to block access to personal data and keep the authorities from prying into customer habits.

Related: Sadly Snowden’s right: Online encryption is a necessity

Android L, when it is eventually released, will include the automatic switch on for the technology that has been on some devices since 2011 and it means that only someone that enters the device password will be able to see pictures, videos and communications stored on the phone.

“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement,” said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff, according to the Washington Post. “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won't even have to think about turning it on.”

Google’s move to turn the feature on comes after Apple revealed that iOS 8 includes automatic encryption from the outset and both decisions will make it fiendishly difficult for law enforcement agencies to access data stored on smartphones.

Privacy advocates are having a field day given that both Apple and Google are implementing the feature as an automatic option on all new devices due to the fact that users simply don’t turn it on at present.

"Most people aren't going to go out of their way to do these things," said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington-based non-profit group that receives substantial industry support. "It's so awesome, as someone who has worked on these issues for a long time, to see these two companies switch their defaults to where these things will be strongly encrypted, and rightly so."

Related: The Snowden effect: How one whistleblower has made encryption cool

The only drawback for Google’s encryption is the usual slow rollout of its new OS version means that devices will only get the automatic version gradually whereas Apple’s fragmentation is almost non-existent in comparison.Porthole Ad

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.