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Last Updated : Feb 24, 2020 04:45 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Google to crack down on Android apps accessing location in background

The new review process will ensure all apps ask for location data only and only if it is essential.

Google has announced that it will start placing new restrictions on Android apps that track the user’s location in the background. 

The search-engine giant will start reviewing if an app seeking location data actually needs access. Google announced the new changes earlier this month to Android developers via a blog post.

Starting August 3, all Google Play apps asking for background access have to pass a review. This will then expand to all apps, starting November 3.

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"Users consistently tell us that they want more control over their location data and that we should take every precaution to prevent misuse. Since the beginning of Android, users have needed to grant explicit permission to any app that wants access to their location data," Google said in its blog post.

The new review process will ensure all apps ask for location data only and only if it is essential. These apps will need to justify why they need the location data or background access. Google may also limit tracking if these apps fail to justify. The justification will be based on whether the app's core functionality actually needs background access. Google gave three examples to explain its review process. 

"An app that sends emergency or safety alerts as part of its core functionality - and clearly communicates why access is needed to the user - would have a strong case to request background location. A social networking app that allows users to elect to continuously share their location with friends would also have a strong case to access location in the background. An app with a store locator feature would work just fine by only accessing location when the app is visible to the user. In this scenario, the app would not have a strong case to request background location under the new policy,": Google said.

Google further added that the chances of getting approved would be better if the app informs the user.

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First Published on Feb 24, 2020 04:45 pm
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