Sci-tech

Google Safe Browsing Extends to Android Apps Requiring User and Device Data

Google Safe Browsing Extends to Android Apps Requiring User and Device Data

Under a new "Unwanted Software Policy" announced late last week, Google will now show warnings when apps acquired in this manner tamper with personal data. 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. Apps that handle user or device data will soon have to provide their own privacy policies.

These requirements will apply during all instances when the app has to collect personal or device data from the user.

This amounts to "clandestine surveillance software that is unknown to Android users at the time of app installation", Yale's Privacy Labs wrote in its report.

The new policy is applicable to all functions of an app.

Google says these new rules also apply to basic operations such as user data collection for analytics and crash reporting purposes, and not necessarily for personal data alone.

Google will also show warnings inside Chrome for Android when users are trying to access third-party websites that offer Android apps for download.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 AFK fix coming to stop players farming credits
Further outcry over the unlock requirements for fan-favorite heroes like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader forced more changes.


The changes reflect an update in August to the Personal and Sensitive Information section of Google's Developer Policy Center. If a developer includes surreptitious data harvesting in an Android app, Safe Browsing will be able to detect it and warn the user.

For example, the in-app disclosure must be shown within the app itself and not just the Play Store listing or on a website.

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 Safe Browsing team is giving developers 60 days to update their apps towards this direction.

Google Safe Browsing has proven to be quite effective in the past.


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