Google to Flag Apps That Snoop Without Permission

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Google has announced that it has beefed up its efforts to keep Android users safe by expanding the enforcement of its Unwanted Software Policy.

Any apps that fail to display a custom privacy policy will find that their Play Store listing is slapped with a warning. If the data is not functional to the working of the app, an explanation will be required so that the user can choose to give or not give access. It applies to both Google Play and other app markets. Nonetheless, many users regularly use external app stores and direct download sites to acquire new apps, potentially putting their device at risk. 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.

"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", Google said.

The company has updated its Unwanted Software Policy page and the guidance page on how app developers should handle user data.

"These data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app". For instance, the app will not be allowed to send crash reports and analytics reports without the consent of the owner.

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The affirmative consent request dialog needs to be presented in a clear and unambiguous way.

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.

Websites owners that attract a Safe Browsing warning will need to follow the usual processes in the Search Console if they want to resolve the warnings.

The OS maker is giving app developers 60 days to fix their issues and update apps with notifications of their full practices.

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