Google to clamp down on Android app snooping

Cesar Mills
December 5, 2017

But this might soon be put to an end thanks to Google's new app policy. READ NEXT:Facebook launches new messaging app for kids "In our efforts to protect users and serve developers, the Google Safe Browsing team has expanded enforcement of Google's Unwanted Software Policy to further tamp down on unwanted and harmful mobile behaviors on Android", said Google.

Once the user has installed the app on their Android device, the app will need to prompt a privacy policy that explicitly mentions what kind of data it procures from the user.

"Additionally, if an app collects and transmits personal data unrelated to the functionality of the app then, prior to collection and transmission, the app must prominently highlight how the user data will be used and have the user provide affirmative consent for such use", the company added. In case apps don't follow it, Google Play Protect will show a warning when such app tries to collect your personal data without notifying you.

In other words, the warnings may be applied to sites and software that promote apps that violate its policy, as well as the offending apps themselves. All that users will see is a warning, and one that doesn't quite stop them from using the app in the first place.

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The new policy is applicable to all functions of an app. For instance, the app will not be allowed to send crash reports and analytics reports without the consent of the owner.

The OS maker is giving app developers 60 days to fix their issues and update apps with notifications of their full practices.

In order to avoid Google's ban hammer, Android app developers must follow a series of rules regarding user data collection and disclosure. This will help to crack down on malicious apps, including those from third-party sources that would previously go unnoticed by the Safe Browsing service.

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