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Updated: JustDial App Pulled From Google Play Store; Privacy Concerns?

Update 1: According to sources, JustDial’s new app was made live on Google Play, last week. JustDial’s old app, which was developed by July Systems and had been downloaded about 700, 000 times was pulled by JustDial before the release of the new app. However, the new app was removed after Google found that it violated certain terms. JustDial has resubmitted the app but it might take upto two weeks for a decision from Google’s end. In the meantime, JustDial has reactivated the old app which was made by July systems.

Update: We’ve received a response from JustDial, saying that Google had asked the company to investigate (problems) before the launch. JustDial says that it’s already in talks with Google to get some clarity on the issue, and that the app will be back soon. However, JustDial did not comment on our query about the app sending user data.

It appears that online and telephone business listings company Just Dial’s Android app has been removed from the Google Play application marketplace. One of our readers pointed out that the JustDial app is no longer available.  He also mentions that the app received an update last week, following which it started retrieving and storing the user’s entire phone book, without a warning or disclaimer.

We also tried searching for the app, and were not able to locate it.

According to Google Developer distribution agreement, it can takedown an app  if it :

” (a) violates the intellectual property rights or any other rights of any third party; (b) violates any applicable law or is subject to an injunction; (c) is pornographic, obscene or otherwise violates Google’s hosting policies or other terms of service as may be updated by Google from time to time in its sole discretion; (d) is being distributed improperly; (e) may create liability for Google or Authorized Carriers; (f) is deemed by Google to have a virus or is deemed to be malware, spyware or have an adverse impact on Google’s or an Authorized Carrier’s network; (g) violates the terms of this Agreement or the Developer Program Policies for Developers; or (h) the display of the Product is impacting the integrity of Google servers (i.e., users are unable to access such content or otherwise experience difficulty).

This and other Google program guidelines do not categorically mention that collecting data about users and their contacts without explicit consent leads to suspension, but Google advises developers not to violate user privacy. In one of the developer pages devoted to tools used for collection of contacts data, it says:

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“Remember that the user’s contacts data is personal and sensitive. Users are concerned about their privacy, so they don’t want applications collecting data about them or their contacts. If it’s not obvious why you need permission to access their contacts data, they may give your application low ratings or simply refuse to install it.”

It might be possible that several users flagged the application giving the same reason, and Google decided to pull the apps. If the app doesn’t mention that it’s collecting data then that amounts to deceptive behaviour.

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