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Google will stop other apps from seeing what's installed on your Android device

Apps will no longer be able to read what's on your phone without Google's permission

April 05, 2021 / 03:01 PM IST
Google Meet users can continue to make free calls for up to 24 hours (Image: Reuters)

Google Meet users can continue to make free calls for up to 24 hours (Image: Reuters)

Tech giant Google is adding some new privacy restrictions for Play Store apps. The report talks specifically about a "Query_All_Packages" permission that is part of Android 11, according to a report from Ars Tehnica. This permission grants access to apps to read what is installed on your Android device.

As you might have guessed this is a huge privacy issue and Google thinks the same way. It's marked the permission as 'sensitive', meaning Google will only allow apps to ask for it if the company's review system agrees with the app. This means usage of this permission from other apps will be restricted unless Google allows it.

There are a few exceptions to this, Google says it will provide a temporary exemption to an app that have a verifiable core like financial apps. In the case of financial institutions, they may need this permission for security purposes and verification.

Google has also listed out what it feels are invalid uses of the permission and will not allow apps to explore the Android file system if it does one of the following things:

  1. The permission will not be given if the app in question uses Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. If the apps sole purpose is to be P2P, then Google will review the case and grant permission if it feels like its valid.

  2. Any apps that acquire data for the purpose of sale are banned from using this permission.

  3. If Google feels than an app can accomplish its goal without needing the permission.

This is a good move by Google and will theoretically keep bloatware apps off the Play Store. This is the internet we are talking about though, so there is no telling when someone will come up with a workaround.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 5, 2021 03:01 pm

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