Sci-tech

Google Is Clamping Down On App Data Collection

Google Is Clamping Down On App Data Collection

Google is introducing significant changes to how it enforces its Unwanted Software Policy, which should result in better privacy and transparency for the world's two billion Android users. If an app continues to stray from the policy, users are likely to see its Safe Browsing full-page warnings, which will probably drive users away from the offending software. If a developer includes surreptitious data harvesting in an Android app, Safe Browsing will be able to detect it and warn the user.

If an app uses a user's phone number or email address or device data, it will need to prompt the user and provide a privacy policy within the app.

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This extends beyond those found on the Play Store, to those found anywhere on the internet as per a new set of guidelines on how data handling should be conducted by developers.

In order to avoid Google's ban hammer, Android app developers must follow a series of rules regarding user data collection and disclosure. This way, users can be protected even when they browse to websites that provide app installation. 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. This will apply at all times; for instance, the list of installed apps on your device can not be sent from your device during a crash report without consent.

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Google said the new requirements are part of an expanded enforcement of its unwanted software policy, which aims to protect users from deceptive software.

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The Safe Browsing team is giving developers 60 days to update their apps towards this direction. If this requirement isn't met, warnings may be shown on users' devices.