Google is tightening its security measures in a bid to limit access of user’s data to the app developers. In the latest development, the company has announced that it will be removing applications from the Google Play Store that do not adhere policy for call log and SMS permission.
The announcement comes as part of Project Strobe, which is the search engine giant’s internal initiative which stemmed from the issues which gave rise to the untimely (or timely) demise of its social networking platform Google+.
The company is making it simple — only default clients should be able to access the sensitive user data on the device. Not all the apps that need call log or SMS permission will be removed but many unscrupulous developers who have created apps that require access to user data and then profit from the insight will booted off the platform.
Explaining this move, the company announced:
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. Keeping our overall Android ecosystem healthy is very important, and protection of user data is vital to the long term health of all developers.
Google does allow access to such data for genuine use cases. For this, the developers will need to submit a ‘permissions declaration form’ for access to the call log and SMS data. Many developers were emailed several months ago to sort this out and were warned that they had 90 days to get their form in, remove the permissions, or face the consequences.
Now that the 90-days span has expired, Google has announced that it will soon begin removing apps which require call logs and SMS permissions from the Play Store. However, only those apps will be booted off for which the developers are yet to submit a permission declaration form.
Google has also pointed that it assesses factors such as user benefit of the permissions, availability of more narrow alternatives, risks presented by the app and the sheer importance of the permissions for helping an app accomplish its core objective.