Google Play prepares to remove apps over missing privacy policies

Beginning next month, the number of apps offered through the Google Play Store may thin out a bit. Google has been sending out emails to developers alerting them to what is likely an incoming purge, and telling them what they can do to avoid it. Apparently, Google isn't too fond of the fact that a number of apps require sensitive permissions from users, but don't provide a privacy policy to explain why the apps need those permissions.

The Next Web got its hands on one of these emails, which are being sent out to developers who are currently in violation of Google Play's personal and sensitive information user data policy. "Google Play requires developers to provide a valid privacy policy when the app requests or handles sensitive user or device information," the email reads. "Your app requests sensitive permissions (e.g. camera, microphone, accounts, contacts, or phone) or user data, but does not include a valid privacy policy."

In order to bring the offending app in line with the rules, Google says that developers must link to a valid privacy policy in both the Play Store listing and within the app itself. On the other hand, developers can avoid the requirement altogether by removing any permissions for sensitive data from the app.

Developers have until March 15 to make their apps complaint. If they aren't by that date, Google might take actions such as reducing visibility or removing the apps entirely. This could be a good thing for developers trying to gain a foothold in the Google Play Store, and this purge could remove a ton of "zombie apps" from the store.

Zombie apps can cause quite a big problem for developers who are trying to make a name for themselves and their apps on the Google Play Store, as they take up space and make it harder for up-and-comers to get their apps seen.

We'll see just how much this helps the situation next month. Many of those zombie apps won't be updated to become compliant with Google's rules, so we can likely expect to see many removed when March 15 rolls around. With security concerns at the center of this move, it sounds like a winning scenario for both serious developers and consumers.

SOURCE: The Next Web