Google is introducing significant changes to how it enforces its Unwanted Software Policy, which should result in better privacy and transparency for the world's two billion Android users. The app also needs to prominently explain how user data will be used.
The crackdown is a new effort to combat malicious and harmful Android apps and will apply to software distributed through the Play Store as well as third-party Android app markets. Additionally, the app also features a big button at the top of the screen that will cut down all the background consumption of data on your device.
Installing apps from external sources can lead you to an infection because apps aren't necessarily validated by store approval teams.
"These data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app".
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Google's new disclosure requirements calls on app developers to ensure that any data they collect and notices pertaining to such collection are compliant with US-EU Privacy Shield principles.
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.
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.
Google describes unwanted software as any application or tool that is deceptive or tries to trick users into installing it by promising a false value proposition. Interestingly, it does not matter whether apps are featured in Google Play or they come via other marketplaces. In case app developers fail to comply, Google will take it upon itself to warn users. Android users will now see Google Safe Browsing warnings on app and websites that collect the user's personal data without their consent.