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

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

Google said the new requirements are part of an expanded enforcement of its unwanted software policy, which aims to protect users from deceptive software.

More importantly, this policy will extend to apps that have not been downloaded from the Google Play Store.

Striving towards better user privacy, Google's Safe Browsing team on Friday announced new and improved regulations for Android apps that are both on and off the Google Play Store. Apps that handle user or device data will soon have to provide their own privacy policies.

Developers will also need to offer a way for users to give their "affirmative consent" if an app collects and transmits personal data that's unrelated to the functionality of the app. All that users will see is a warning, and one that doesn't quite stop them from using the app in the first place.

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"These data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app". In case apps don't follow it, Google Play Protect will show a warning when such app tries to collect your personal data without notifying you.

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.

The changes reflect an update in August to the Personal and Sensitive Information section of Google's Developer Policy Center. It also can't be placed in a privacy policy or terms of service and must not be bundled with non-privacy disclosures. Notably, these new guidelines will prevent apps from collecting user data which is not necessary. Interestingly, it does not matter whether apps are featured in Google Play or they come via other marketplaces.

New and existing applications will have 60 days to conform to these new rules, or developers risk their app displaying the new message asking for consent.