Google bans ‘spy apps’ in Play Store but leaves gaps

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Google, Play Store’da ‘A spy or stalkerware app is able to track how a user uses their phone, in addition to collecting other data, such as location. Useful for parents, it is also a tool for jealous partners, rejected lovers, bosses who morally harass employees and data thieves in general. Therefore, Google banned these apps from the Play Store – unfortunately, an attitude that should prove innocuous.

By updating the Program Policy for Developers, developers will no longer be able to offer stalkerwares, unless they have parental use, that is, directed to monitoring their children. The new rules will take effect from October 1st.

Also read: How to find out if someone is spying on you on your cell phone or PC

Stalkerware applications can be installed and run on smartphones and laptops without the user knowing, operating in the background of the operating system. According to Google, they should now include an “appropriate notice or consent” in addition to showing “persistent notification” that the user’s actions are being tracked.

Loophole makes rule no effect

The loophole is precisely the fact that the new rule applies only to applications that track adults – those intended for parents will be able to continue operating without any notice or request for consent being shown to the user (in this case, the child). It would be enough for the developer to change the specifications of his stalkerware from “adult” to “children” and voilà, back to business.

It is not the first time that Google has hit the ball when it comes to this type of surveillance app: in July, it imposed a similar ban on companies promoting via Google Ads stalkerware, spyware and other forms of tracking technology without the consent of people involved.

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As of now, the company has included products designed for parents to monitor their children in exceptions. The new policy took effect on August 11, but according to the TechCrunch website, it was never really enforced.


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