Google finally takes action on Android privacy

Google agit enfin pour la protection de la vie privée sous Android


News hardware Google finally takes action on Android privacy

As of May 11, 2022, Google will prohibit applications available on the Android Play Store from integrating a function allowing the recording of telephone calls. This is the end of a thorny issue that the company has been dragging along like a ball and chain for years.

The ability to record phone calls made from a smartphone has existed within Android for years. In practice, Google has never integrated such a feature into the stock version of its operating system, but the company hasn’t prevented developers from offering it through third-party apps either.

However, from next May 11, an update to the Google Play Store’s terms of service will put an end to this controversial practice : the applications available on the platform will no longer be able to allow the recording of telephone calls. Those that continue to do so will be deleted.

A security question for Google

By doing so, Google wants to prevent developers from using the Accessibility API available for Android to provide such a feature. “The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be relied upon for audio recording of remote calls”the company said.

The Mountain View firm is also looking to preserve the privacy of Android users. If she does it now, it is undoubtedly because she wants to show her commitment to more secure practices within her OS. Recently, Google has announced its intention to clean up Android applications, to delete those that no longer correspond to the security standards imposed by the company. The disappearance of this function, which can be misused, seems to go in the same direction.

Finally, the other annoying point is none other than the legal nature of this proposal. Some countries have laws that prohibit the recording of phone calls. In France, according to article 226-1 of the Penal Code, it is forbidden to record a private telephone conversation without having informed your interlocutor, and without having obtained his consent. The applications available on Google Play allow you to act completely behind the back of the person on the other end of the line, which is a problem in France.

Google finally takes action on Android privacy

Manufacturers’ applications remain available

If the applications offered by third-party developers on the Play Store will therefore suffer a disastrous fate, this will not however be the case for the services that certain smartphone manufacturers implement natively within their devices, as Xiaomi does with Mi Dialer.

It is also amusing to note that Google Pixel smartphones are among the references that allow calls to be recorded in countries that allow it. In France, this function is not available, because the practice is officially prohibited there. However, it was previously possible to circumvent the situation by downloading a third-party application, but this possibility will soon no longer exist, at least from the Play Store.

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