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Change to Lollipop Encryption Policy May Not Have Much Effect, Experts Say

Google has made a subtle, but important, shift in the requirements for Android handset makers, saying now that OEMs manufacturing phones that will run Lollipop do not have to enable disk encryption by default. This is a major change from the company’s stated position from just a few months ago, but it may not have much of a practical effect on user security, experts say.

Last fall, Google officials said that new Android devices running version 5.0, also known as Lollipop, would have full disk encryption enabled by default from the first time they were powered up. Security researchers and privacy advocates praised the move, saying that it would give users a key defense mechanism, not only against attackers but also against surveillance. But they also cautioned that unless the encryption scheme is set up and managed correctly, it would not make much of a difference to users.

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