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Google Play May Soon Remove Millions of Apps Without Privacy Policies

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Google Play May Soon Remove Millions of Apps Without Privacy Policies
Highlights
  • Google sends notice to several developers to fix issue
  • The company has asked developers to fix issue by March 15
  • Google warns developers about administrative action

Google is reportedly sending notices to developers of apps handling personal or sensitive data but lacking a privacy policy. The company informs them it is considering limiting or removing these apps from Google Play if they do not meet the User Data policy. Google has asked developers to fix the issue with their apps by March 15 or has warned that administrative action will be taken to limit the visibility of the app.

The Next Web reports that a significant number of developers are receiving a warning about how their app lacks a valid privacy policy. Google's latest move could be a big blow for half-baked apps that have made their way to the Google Play and handle personal or sensitive data . According to Google's User Data policy, developers have to be transparent how they handle user data (information provided by a user, collected about a user, and collected about a user's use of the app or device). It further adds that the app is required to comply with additional restrictions or procedures if required by an applicable law.

Google describes the "Privacy Policy and Secure Transmission" in User Data policy, "If your app handles personal or sensitive user data (including personally identifiable information, financial and payment information, authentication information, phonebook or contact data, microphone and camera sensor data, and sensitive device data) then your app must: 1) Post a privacy policy in both the designated field in the Play Developer Console and from within the Play distributed app itself. 2) Handle the user data securely, including transmitting it using modern cryptography (for example, over HTTPS)."

As per the notice shared by The Next Web, Google is warning developers who do not adhere to the company's policy that their app's visibilty could be limited, or it could even be removed from Google Play. Developers will either need to link to a valid privacy policy, or stop requesting sensitive permissions or user data. Developers have until March 15 to make the changes.

The move to remove apps that do not follow the guidelines set by Google will surely boost confidence in Android users which at times struggle to find the right app due to presence of fake ones.

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Further reading: Google, Google Apps, Android, Google Play
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