Android Gains Safe Browsing Features To Out Apps Collecting Data Without Permission

Android Gains Safe Browsing Features To Out Apps Collecting Data Without Permission

The new Unwanted Software Policy from Google is actively working cut down on unwanted and malicious mobile behaviour in the Android ecosystem.

Installing apps from external sources can lead you to an infection because apps aren't necessarily validated by store approval teams. That'll involve more strictly enforcing the company's unwanted software policy, which already demands that app developers be transparent with users when collecting their personal information. The app provider's privacy policy must also be displayed within the application.

"Additionally, if an app collects and transmits personal data unrelated to the functionality of the app then, prior to collection and transmission, the app must prominently highlight how the user data will be used and have the user provide affirmative consent for such use", the company added.

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

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.

"These data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app". For instance, if an application requires sending analytics, it can't transmit information unrelated to the app unless it discloses the reason and gets permission from the user.

The changes reflect an update in August to the Personal and Sensitive Information section of Google's Developer Policy Center. To gain consent, the user will need to tap to accept or tick a check-box. Any app that collects personal data will be subject to the new rules. This gives Android developers about two months to update their apps and make them compliant with the new rule. Interestingly, it does not matter whether apps are featured in Google Play or they come via other marketplaces.

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