Google adds more browsing security to your Android device

Terry Joseph
December 5, 2017

"Safe Browsing warnings will appear on apps and websites leading to apps that collect a user's personal data without their consent", explains a security blog written by Paul Stanton of Google's Safe Browsing Team. If an app continues to stray from the policy, users are likely to see its Safe Browsing full-page warnings, which will probably drive users away from the offending software.

"Prior to collection and transmission, the app must prominently highlight how the user data will be used and have the user provide affirmative consent for such use", Google said. This way, users can be protected even when they browse to websites that provide app installation.

Starting at the end of January, Google will warn you about Android apps that collect personal data without users' consent.

"These data collection requirements apply to all functions of the app".

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Google says these new rules also apply to basic operations such as user data collection for analytics and crash reporting purposes, and not necessarily for personal data alone.

Recent research by Yale University's Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy showed that three quarters of Android apps contain trackers that collect user data for targeted advertising, to glean their locations, and to analyse behaviour. Developers have 60 days to implement the requested changes before Google puts the warning button on their apps.

Google notes that two common violations are when an app doesn't treat a user's installed apps as personal or sensitive user data and when an app doesn't treat the user's phone or contact book as personal data.

Google just recently listed new rules that ban apps from displaying ads on user's lock screen. This will help to crack down on malicious apps, including those from third-party sources that would previously go unnoticed by the Safe Browsing service.

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