In our pervious updates, we reported on Google's ongoing efforts to strengthen its security features, such as Google's limitations on changing Chrome settings, Google adding new “Unwanted Software Cleanup” features in Chrome and Google Chrome Will Automatically Prevent Webpages from Redirects

This month, Google announced that their Safe Browsing team has expended enforcement of Google’s Unwanted Software Policy to Android devices. Consequently, Google Safe Browsing tool will warn mobile users on apps and on websites leading to apps that collect a user’s personal data without their consent.

Developers of applications that handle personal user data, including email addresses, phone numbers or other device data will need to prompt a message alerting users about such data collection and provide their own privacy policy in the app as well. Developers of apps that collect user data for purposes unrelated to the application’s functionality will now have to explain prior to collection and transmission of the data how they plan to use it. Finally, users will need to provide their consent before that type of application can be used. Aforementioned data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app including those that used during analytics and crash reporting

These requirements, under the Unwanted Software Policy, apply to apps distributed through Google Play as well as through other Android app stores and may result in warnings shown on user devices via Google Play Protect or on webpages that lead to these apps. We would be happy to provide web and app developers further advice and recommendations concerning the required steps, to ensure compliance of their Apps with Google’s Unwanted Software Policy.