Google launches crack down on apps that snoop on users
Sheetal Sukhija - Tuesday 5th December, 2017
Google has introduced significant changes to how it enforces its Unwanted Software Policy
The warnings would result in better privacy and transparency for Android users
Users likely to see Google’s Safe Browsing warnings if apps continues to stray from policy
CALIFORNIA, U.S. - In a bid to crack down on applications that snoop on users, Google has launched an operation, in which such apps will be slapped with Safe Browsing warnings.
Google said recently that it will introduce significant changes to how it enforces its Unwanted Software Policy.
The company believes that it is these changes that will help in providing better privacy and transparency for the world's two billion Android users.
Google has said that unless apps come clean about the personal data they collect, Google will slap them with Safe Browsing warnings.
According to reports, Google is giving developers two months to ensure their apps don't deviate from its Unwanted Software policy.
However, if an app continues to stray from the policy, users are likely to see its Safe Browsing full-page warnings, which would drive users away from the offending software.
The crackdown, which is a new effort to combat malicious and harmful Android apps, will apply to software distributed through the Play Store as well as third-party Android app markets.
Google said on its security blog that the Safe Browsing warnings will appear "on apps and on websites leading to apps that collect a user's personal data without their consent.”
This would mean that the warnings may be applied to sites and software that promote apps that violate its policy, as well as the offending apps themselves.
Further, developers will also need to offer a way for users to give their "affirmative consent" if an app collects and transmits personal data that's unrelated to the functionality of the app.
The app would also need to prominently explain how user data will be used.
Google explained, "These data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app. For example, during analytics and crash reporting, the list of installed packages unrelated to the app may not be transmitted from the device without prominent disclosure and affirmative consent.”
Websites owners that attract a Safe Browsing warning would need to follow the usual processes in the Search Console if they want to resolve the warnings.
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