Google cracks down on snooping Android apps

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Google has revealed it will be making major changes to how it safeguards users from malicious software.

The company has revealed it is expanding the reach of its Unwanted Software Policy, which looks to protect Android device users from installing harmful apps by warning of possible dangers.

Going forward, Google will now give developers two months to ensure their apps don't deviate from its policy, and if this is not met, users will be met with an off-putting full-screen warning alerting them to possible harmful effects.

Google says that the expansion is needed to ramp up its efforts to combat the increasing number of malicious and harmful Android apps around today. The rules will apply both to apps downloaded through the company's own Play Store, as well as third-party Android app markets.

In addition to the threat of user warning, Google says that developers will also now need to offer a clear option for users to give "affirmative consent" for an app to collect and transmit personal data such as phone numbers or email.

If an app asks to claim data unrelated to its advertised functionality, this must also be clearly stated.

The app will also need to clearly show how user data will be used after being collected, rather than hiding it within the Settings menu, privacy policy or terms and conditions, as well as being shown in the Play Store listing.

The means of users giving their consent to have data taken must also be presented in a clear and unambiguous way, such as tapping to accept or tick a check-box.