Google is now cracking down apps that track data without permission

Google is now cracking down apps that track data without permission

Google is now cracking down apps that track data without permission

Any apps that fail to display a custom privacy policy will find that their Play Store listing is slapped with a warning. "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".

They must also ask a user's permission before they collect and transmit personal data that's unrelated to the functionality of the program, and clearly and prominently explain how the information will be used.

In other words, the warnings may be applied to sites and software that promote apps that violate its policy, as well as the offending apps themselves.

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.

Google's Safe Browsing team is tamping down on "unwanted and harmful" mobile activity on Android, Google said on Friday.

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

This extends beyond those found on the Play Store, to those found anywhere on the internet as per a new set of guidelines on how data handling should be conducted by developers.

The changes reflect an update in August to the Personal and Sensitive Information section of Google's Developer Policy Center. If the requirements listed are not met, warnings may be shown on user devices through Google Play Protect or on webpages that lead to these apps.

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.

Popular apps such as Uber, Spotify, and Tinder use Google's Crashlytics crash reporting feature to access insights into people's behaviour. This will help to crack down on malicious apps, including those from third-party sources that would previously go unnoticed by the Safe Browsing service.

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