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Google adds more browsing security to your Android device

05 December 2017
Google adds more browsing security to your Android device

Developers have been given 60 days to comply with what is described as an expansion of Google's existing Unwanted Software Policy.

As part of Google's effort to make the internet safer for you while browsing on your Android device, the Google Safe Browsing team is putting up more safeguards so that websites don't get to install unwanted apps on your device. Apps that handle user or device data will soon have to provide their own privacy policies. "For example, during analytics and crash reportings, the list of installed packages unrelated to the app may not be transmitted from the device without prominent disclosure and affirmative consent".

The company did not say whether the new policy of privacy violation warnings will apply to its own software as well.

The new policy is applicable to all functions of an app. And if the data collected by this app doesn't relate to its functionality, the app will have to explain how this data will be used, after which the user can provide his/her consent.

The changes reflect an update in August to the Personal and Sensitive Information section of Google's Developer Policy Center.

Recent research by Yale University's Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy showed that three quarters of Android apps contain trackers that collect user data for targeted advertising, to glean their locations, and to analyse behaviour.

It must also be displayed within the normal usage of the app and not be buried in settings. Any app that collects personal data will be subject to the new rules.

Google just recently listed new rules that ban apps from displaying ads on user's lock screen. App developers caught by the new Safe Browsing warnings can request an app review on the App Verifications and Appeals support page. 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.