TOPICS: Consumer Protection, App Industry Compliance, Google Play
Google has announced three key updates to its Google Play policy, with the aim of promoting consumer protection, on a range of different topics:
Google would also treat apps that facilitate proxy services to third parties as giving rise to network abusive behavior, unless they do so in apps where that is the primary, user-facing core purpose of the app.
Financial Services: Google will also exclude applications that expose users to deceptive or harmful financial products or services. Applications that allow users to trade binary options or mine cryptocurrencies will not be allowed in the Google Play Store.
In addition, personal loan applications individuals or organizations to individuals on a non-recurring basis will be required to disclose information regarding the periods of repayment, maximum Annual Percentage Rate (interest rates plus fees and other costs), and to provide a representative example of the total cost of a loan including all fees. These requirements will enable personal loan consumers to better asses the risks and benefits of the loan product being offered. The policy will apply to all applications that offer direct loans and loan brokering services, including lead generation.
Deceptive Behavior: Google prohibits applications that attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behavior. According to Google's blog post, from now on, developers will be required to provide accurate disclosure of their application's functionalities and must not try to mimic functionalities or warnings of the Android operating system or other applications. In addition, any changes to the device settings, resulting from the use or installment of an application, must be made with the users' consent and shall be easily reversible. Google also prohibits applications that are misleading, such as applications that allow the generation of fake ID cards and passports.
We recently reported on Google's ban on Chinese developers following an investigation on the abuse of permissions and ad fraud, which led to the tightening of its app evaluation procedures. This month also saw Google facing investigations on its alleged anticompetitive practices.
This update was published as part of our Technology & Regulation monthly client update. To read more about HFN's Technology & Regulation Department, click here.