Android will flag snooping apps that don’t warn users

Google will even slap warnings on websites that lead to bad apps.

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Google, a company that known to keep uncomfortably close tabs on users, is taking new measures to ensure that other Android apps don't do the same without proper warning. The company's Safe Browsing team has unveiled stricter enforcement of its "unwanted software policy," warning users off apps that collect your personal data without consent. Google's search engine will even scare users away from websites that offer up apps violating its policies.

Google will flag bad apps with warnings on Play via Google Play Protect, or with the dreaded red boxes that discourage Search users from proceeding to bad sites. To avoid ending up on its naughty list, apps that use personal user data like your phone number, email or location data "will be required to prompt users and to provide their own privacy policy in the app," Google says. You must also provide consent each time an app transmits personal info "unrelated to the functionality of the app."

The search giant is cracking down hard on privacy issues, having recently banned apps that display ads in your lock screen, for instance. That's a noble effort, but Google itself has been conspicuous lately for violating user trust. It was found to have been tracking users' cellphone tower positions and relaying the data back to its servers, ostensibly to improve messaging speed.

It has since halted the practice, but this was happening regardless of whether you had opted in, even if you switched off your cellular service. Since it was neither informing users nor respecting their intentions, Google itself would have been in violation of its new privacy policy.

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