Google to issue warnings when apps steal your personal data

VULNERABLE When the puppy was found abandoned she was scared and confused

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.

From February next year, Android apps that handle personal data such as phone numbers and email addresses, as well as device data, will be required to prompt users for permission to collect the information. It applies to both Google Play and other app markets.

Apps that collect crash information will also be subject to this policy, and will be limited in how much information they can transmit without user approval. This way, users can be protected even when they browse to websites that provide app installation. Inside Chrome, this alert will appear as a Safe Browsing error before the user gets to access a site hosting the infringing app.

NEW HOME A year later Jade is happily settled in her new home
NEW HOME A year later Jade is happily settled in her new home

Google notes that two common violations are when an app doesn't treat a user's installed apps as personal or sensitive user data and when an app doesn't treat the user's phone or contact book as personal data. The new Unwanted Software Policy from Google is actively working cut down on unwanted and malicious mobile behaviour in the Android ecosystem. 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. Developers have 60 days to implement the requested changes before Google puts the warning button on their apps. "As part of this expanded enforcement, Google Safe Browsing will show warnings on apps and on websites leading to apps that collect a user's personal data without their consent".

Google just recently listed new rules that ban apps from displaying ads on user's lock screen. If this requirement isn't met, warnings may be shown on users' devices.

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