Google adds more browsing security to your Android device

Google Voice Assistant comes to Reliance JioPhone

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. Under a new "Unwanted Software Policy" announced late last week, Google will now show warnings when apps acquired in this manner tamper with personal data.

Safe browsing will also be used to warn users about websites that lead to apps that collect personal information without first seeking a user's consent. In case app developers fail to comply, Google will take it upon itself to warn users. "For example, during analytics and crash reportings, (sic) the list of installed packages unrelated to the app may not be transmitted from the device without prominent disclosure and affirmative consent".

Google notes that two common violations are when an app doesn't treat a user's installed apps as personal or sensitive user data and when an app doesn't treat the user's phone or contact book as personal data. Nonetheless, many users regularly use external app stores and direct download sites to acquire new apps, potentially putting their device at risk.


According to the new policy, any apps handling users' personal information like email addresses or phone numbers, or device data will have to prompt users before doing so. Interestingly, it does not matter whether apps are featured in Google Play or they come via other marketplaces. Developers have 60 days to implement the requested changes before Google puts the warning button on their apps.

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 Safe Browsing has proven to be quite effective in the past.

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