Google restricts apps from using access permission via SMS, calls

Tuesday, 22 January 2019, 12:42 Hrs
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Google has now restricted the use of high-risk and sensitive permissions via SMS and phone calls for apps on PlayStore as part of its recent policy change that now requires apps to be verified manually by the search engine giant.

The company has declared March 9 as the deadline for developers whose apps already include these permissions to either file a declaration confirming their app requires these permissions for core functionality, submit a request application for more time allotment to bring their app into compliance, or remove the permissions from their apps immediately. 

"Apps that fail to meet policy requirements or submit a declaration form may be removed from Google Play," the company wrote in a post late on Monday. 

While cases where Google is allowing access to these permissions include an app being the default handler for calls, SMS, Google Assistant queries, the other use cases are expected to request a temporary extension and work to find an alternative way.

This means that eventually the SMS and calling permissions used by many apps today will no longer be valid for anything but default call, SMS and Assistant apps, leaving the question of how other apps that use those permissions for core functions will continue to operate, Android Headlines reported. 

This step comes as a security measure to prevent users from getting involved in questionable apps that could use the access permissions to send out premium SMS and calls, fake two-factor authentication or steal secured accounts.

The company has already received "tens of thousands" of declarations from developers hoping to be allowed to use the permissions and if Google keeps scanning for apps that use the permissions there will not be any non-compliant apps in the PlayStore by the March 9 deadline, the report added. 

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