Global search engine giant Google has updated its play store developer program, which prevents people from using a stalkerware application to track others without their consent.
The new policy update will now mandate developers of such applications to include a notice or consent and a notification feature to show that the user is being monitored. A grace period of 15 days has been given to the developers to make necessary changes.
According to the policy update released by Google, developers of stackerware applications have to send a notification to notify users that the developers are monitoring user’s movements and accessing personal information and also the application needs to seek the consent of the user for accessing the information.
The granted period of 15 days can be extended to comply with the changes. If the application developers doesn’t follow the instructions, then the app will be removed from the Play Store.
The term stalkerware or spyware refers to applications that transfer data to a third party other than the potentially harmful application (PHA) provider. These apps are used to track someone’s movements, calls and messages, and record their application activities.
Google said, “the apps and app listings on Google Play must not provide any means to activate or access functionality that violates these terms, such as linking to a non-compliant APK hosted outside Google Play”.
However, there is a loophole that allows developers to find a way to run applications while complying with the new rules. Google says it will allow policy-compliant apps in the Play Store that are designed solely for parental monitoring or enterprise management. There is a chance that developers will sell their apps in a justifiable way, for example, to monitor children’s behavior but using this application may also allow them to intrude into the privacy of other users.