Google’s crackdown on nefarious apps in the Play Store is gearing up to remove applications which require users to grant the app permission to collect call log and SMS permissions. App developers were actually notified of this impending change back in October and were given 90 days to remove the permission requests from their applications or justify the reason call log and SMS permissions are needed for the app the function.
If an app developer submitted a permission declaration form to Google, the app will be reviewed by the Play Store team to ensure that declared functionality is core to the app’s purpose and functionality. Developers who have not updated their app and have not submitted the form will have their app removed from the Play Store and will only be able to resubmit the application if the form is completed or if the call log and SMS permission requests from the app are removed. The 90-day window has officially passed, but Google hasn’t said when it will start pulling offending applications from the Play Store.
It’s nice to see Google taking a tougher stance to ensure that applications listed on the Play Store are behaving in the user’s best interest. While this change does help keep user data more secure, there’s still no guarantee that developers of applications which have legitimate uses for requesting call log and SMS permissions won‘t turn around and sell your data to the highest bidder.
Our recommendation is to always do a bit of research before installing applications on your Android smartphone. There are thousands of legitimate developers out there who are working as hard as they can to deliver incredible app experiences for their users, but there are still plenty of shady developers who simply want to make a quick buck by collecting and selling user data.