Google to issue warnings when apps steal your personal data

Delia Watkins
December 5, 2017

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. This includes putting the complete text of the privacy policy in the app itself. The amended policy introduced a requirement for an app to provide prominent disclosure if it collects and transmits personal user data unrelated to the app's main functionality described in the Play Store listing.

Google will now require apps to show a privacy policy on the device when the software is handling personal data such as phone number or email address. The company says that if app developers refuse to comply, Google will display a warning of its own.

The company has updated its Unwanted Software Policy page and the guidance page on how app developers should handle user data. This way, users can be protected even when they browse to websites that provide app installation.

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Safe Browsing warnings will appear "on apps and on websites leading to apps that collect a user's personal data without their consent". 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.

Popular apps such as Uber, Spotify, and Tinder use Google's Crashlytics crash reporting feature to access insights into people's behaviour. Android users will now see Google Safe Browsing warnings on app and websites that collect the user's personal data without their consent. This gives Android developers about two months to update their apps and make them compliant with the new rule. With these new guidelines, it will help to save users personal data from being plundered by hackers and miscreants.

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