In a move to implement tighter security measures, Google announced last year that it will be removing apps requiring access to a user's call and text logs from the Play Store.
Android is a very open platform for developers — and hackers too — and that means it's also vulnerable to abuse. Android has since experienced a lot of security issues, and now Google is trying to patch things up by purging the Play Store of some apps that require unnecessary permissions.
Keeping Users Safe
Google announced in October that it is updating Google Play's developer policies to cut down apps that may possibly invade a user's privacy through accessing call and text logs. Once the policy rolls out, Google will limit which apps can have permission to access sensitive data. Only apps that act as default for calls and messages will have access to a user's call and text records.
"Our new policy is designed to ensure that apps asking for these permissions need full and ongoing access to the sensitive data in order to accomplish the app's primary use case, and that users will understand why this data would be required for the app to function," Google said in a new blogpost.
In short, if an app doesn't really function as a dialer or messaging app but still wants access to a user's call and texts logs, Google will kick it out of the Play Store.
What Should Developers Do?
If in case a developer still wants to push through with publishing an app that can access a user's phone data, they will have to submit permissions declaration form to Google. The Mountain View company will then review the app and decide if the permission it asks are reasonable.
Google will consider the following factors in the review process: how it benefits the user, if an app can completely function without having to access call and text logs, if there are any alternatives to this permission, or if a user completely understands why an app needs access to sensitive data.
If an app in check passes the review, it will be published on Google Play Store. Otherwise, the developer needs to create a version that doesn't ask for a user's phone data.
After this policy was announced last year, Google gave developers 90 days to fix their apps or submit the declaration form for review. Any apps that failed to do so will be automatically taken down from the Play Store in the coming weeks.