Google is now rectifying a “typo” that was being made in its Play Store “stalkware” policy. This recently indicates that apps can be used to trace spouses. Stalkerware, as well as other software used in tracking, is harmful, campaigners mentioned.
The reason is that it can give way for domestic abuse, as well as molestation of partners. It is written that the policy also falsely mentions that parents cannot trace their children.
The upgraded developer policy, which will come into operation on the 1st of October, 2020. Now says that Play Store apps that enable parents to trace their children are welcomed. However, they cannot be used to trace adults, just like a spouse without letting them know or without their authorization.
The updated developer policy of Google
The important section from the recent developer policy
Below is the important section from the recent developer policy which is required to be rectified (emphasis included):
It states that:
“Legitimate forms of these apps cannot be used by parents to track their children. However, these apps can be used to track a person (a spouse, for example) without their knowledge or permission. Unless a persistent notification is displayed while the data is being transmitted”.
Below is the same section in the latest policy, which will come into operation on the 1st of October, 2020 (emphasis included again). Google has altered the terminology to “acceptable” from “legitimate”, but essentially, it is placed around which apps are enabled and which are not accepted. Here is the same section in the latest policy:
“Acceptable forms of these apps can be used to track a person (a spouse, for example) without their knowledge or permission. Unless a persistent notification is displayed while the data is being transmitted”.
Aside from the minor changes that were being made. The remaining Stalkerware policy seems to be more or less unaffected from August.
The rules of Google states that apps cannot misdirect or deceive users concerning their tracking functionality. Rather Apps must ” present users with a persistent notification and unique icon that clearly identifies the app”. Also, they are not permitted to hide or conceal tracking behavior.
They also need to be clearly outlined and traded as enterprise management apps or as parental monitoring apps. Instead of being marketed as a “spying or secret surveillance solution”. Google told The Verge that his continuous tracking notification must be shown. Even if an app is created in such a way that it enables parents to trace their children.
The rule clarification of Google
The rule clarification of the company comes among a larger campaign to break down on stalkerware. These apps are marketed all the time as a door for partners that are too suspicious or jealous. So as to place tabs on another. And is also created in such a way that it misleads users to keep calm and believe that no one is actually monitoring. Or tracking them, this is according to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).
The Coalition Against Stalkerware that the EFF founded last year, mentions that inspections like this can result in “gender-based and domestic violence, harassment, and sexual abuse”.
Going back to July, Google declared a ban on surveillance technology or advertising spyware with the latest ads policy. Which came into effect on the 11th of August. However, a report from Techcrunch later saw ads for these apps after the ban came into force.
The company also upgraded its policies circling gambling apps and misrepresentation too together with the typo correction of yesterday. It has explained that “coordinated activity that misrepresents or conceals the origin of an app or content” is against its policies. And that a government-published app is not permitted in Brazil too. Well, these policies will come into force on the 21st of October.