In October 2018, Google announced new app developer policy, which asked programmers to submit Permissions Declaration Form with 90 days as to why they need access to user's sensitive details such as phone SMS and call log details.
This was in response to the emergence of adware and malware-ridden apps in Play Store, which they used to resemble as utility apps but never performed the functions as advertised and also there was no need for access to personal details of the user.
"Our new policy is designed to ensure that apps asking for these permissions need full and ongoing access to the sensitive data in order to accomplish the app's primary use case and that users will understand why this data would be required for the app to function," Paul Bankhead, Director, Product Management, Google Play said in a statement.
This week, the new developer policy came into effect, meaning app developers who haven't submitted the Permissions Declaration Form and also those without a valid statement of purpose to access user details, will now face the wrath of Google. The company has officially warned that the apps with unauthorised access to SMS and phone call details will be removed from Play store in coming weeks. Google also detailed its new review policy, which the app has to undergo before getting permission to get into the Play Store.
Google's new app review policy:
- The likelihood that an average user would understand why this type of app needs full access to the data.
- User benefit of the feature.
- Importance of the permission relative to the core functionality of the app.
- Risks presented by all apps with this use case having access to this sensitive data.
- Availability of more narrow alternatives for enabling the feature.
Will this put an end to adware and malware-ridden apps in Google Play Store:
With each passing day, more and more people are entering digital space with smartphones. They might not have owned a computer before, but thanks to phones, they are getting to know the convenience of the internet to get lot of work done online. However, they are naive mobile users and they are in millions. This apparently is a jackpot for Cybercriminals. It will be like a shooting fish in a barrel to trick them into installing malware-ridden apps on to the phone.
Now that Google is implementing the stricter app policy, it will be difficult for sinister app developers to put their apps on the Play store. Like before, app developers over time will find a devious way to hoodwink Google security.
Nevertheless, its a good start by Google in 2019 and having full knowledge about the company's vast resources in terms of genius engineers and stride made in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, I am pretty confident it will be ready to tackle those cybercriminals much before they make the first strike.