Google is now cracking down apps that track data without permission

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Interestingly, apps installed outside Google Play Store will have to follow the new guidelines too.

The company has updated its Unwanted Software Policy page and the guidance page on how app developers should handle user data.

Striving towards better user privacy, Google's Safe Browsing team on Friday announced new and improved regulations for Android apps that are both on and off the Google Play Store.

In other words, the warnings may be applied to sites and software that promote apps that violate its policy, as well as the offending apps themselves.

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There are apps that need personal user data (such as user phone number or email), or device data (MAC addresses, device name, model, and model number). Also, if these apps collect personal data unrelated to the functionality of the app - the developers must highlight this prior to collection and transmission, so the user knows how the data will be used. Further, if the apps save information that is not necessary they are needed to explain users how the data is going to be used. If the data is not functional to the working of the app, an explanation will be required so that the user can choose to give or not give access.

The OS maker is giving app developers 60 days to fix their issues and update apps with notifications of their full practices. For instance, if an application requires sending analytics, it can't transmit information unrelated to the app unless it discloses the reason and gets permission from the user. The apps will be considered to violate Google's policy if they don't follow the rules for prominent disclosure.

The Safe Browsing warnings will appear "on apps and on websites leading to apps that collect a user's personal data without their consent", Google notes on its security blog.

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

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