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Google looking to remove apps without privacy policies from the Play Store: report

Google has been notifying app developers its intentions to remove apps or ‘limit visibility’ from the Play Store, if they violate the company’s user data policy, reports the Next Web. This includes apps that lack a privacy policy.

Developers can fix this by including a link to a valid privacy policy on the app’s store listing page and within the app. Developers can also opt-out of this requirement by removing requests for sensitive permission or user data such as camera, microphone, accounts, contacts, or phone. If such permissions are requested, then developers need to make sure the information is handled over encrypted channels like HTTPS.

The need for a privacy policy needs to be resolved by the 15th of March 2017, post which Google will take action against offending apps.

This is an important step by Google, and will help curb developers offhandedly ignoring having privacy policies, while asking for various permissions from a user’s phone. It will also help reduce the number of apps that are simply hacked together to replicate functions of a more popular app. Developers that ignore privacy policies open themselves up to lawsuits, as such, the quality and security of apps on the Play Store should also improve. This move is also important in light of Google launching Android Wear 2.0 with support for Google Play.
Other than the new policy, Google imposes various other restrictions on developers, which unless followed, can earn a Play Store suspension. Our guide on the 20 common app developer mistakes that lead to Google Play suspension can be found here.

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