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

Google has announced that it has beefed up its efforts to keep Android users safe by expanding the enforcement of its Unwanted Software Policy. The updated policy will help Google to reduce unwanted and harmful behavior on Android. Android users will now see Google Safe Browsing warnings on app and websites that collect the user's personal data without their consent.

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Google's Paul Stanton wrote, "Apps handling personal user data (such as user phone number or email), or device data will be required to prompt users and to provide their own privacy policy in the app. 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."

These requirements apply to all app functions, and Google oogle says that during analytics and crash reports any list of installed packages that are unrelated to the app can’t be transmitted from the device. To be able to transmit that data, the user must be shown a prominent disclosure and give affirmative consent.

Google also notes that not only do these new guidelines apply to apps in Google Play, but they also apply to apps in non-Play app markets. Stanton wrote, "Starting in 60 days, this expanded enforcement of Google’s Unwanted Software Policy may result in warnings shown on user devices via Google Play Protect or on webpages that lead to these apps. Webmasters whose sites show warnings due to distribution of these apps should refer to the Search Console for guidance on remediation and resolution of the warnings."

Google is pointing developers with apps that trigger these warnings to the Unwanted Software Help Center. There is a medium for developers to request an App verification to gain guidance on apps in the Google Play and non-Play stores.