Google Play Store Policy Bans Third-Party Call Recording Apps

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Google will update its Play Store Policy that restricts third-party call recording apps, effective May 11, 2022.

Under its latest policy, call recording apps will not be authorized to use the accessibility Application Programming Interface (API) as part of its crackdown on third-party apps that use it for non-accessibility causes on Android devices. Google developed the accessibility API for people with disabilities to access audio functions on their Android devices. The policy says:

Apps with a core functionality intended to directly support people with disabilities are eligible to use the IsAccessibilityTool. Apps not eligible for IsAccessibilityTool may not use the flag and must meet prominent disclosure and consent requirements. The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.

Unlike Apple iOS, Android OS allows users to access apps from other stores. Unfortunately, sideloading is unsafe for consumers as it opens them to potential security and privacy risks.

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Google designed the APIs to help people with disabilities but not for call-recording purposes. Earlier Google said it wanted to consider responsible and innovative uses of accessibility services.

Xiaomi and Samsung smartphones with built-in call recording can continue to use this service using their dialers. In addition, Google clarified that the policy would not affect apps with native call recording functionality.

Many default dialer apps like the Google Phone, Mi Dialer, and more have native call recording functionality built-in on specific devices. Those default dialer apps on devices such as Pixel and Xiaomi smartphones will not be affected by the change, according to Engadget.

Google has slowly pushed to stop Android call recording for privacy concerns. Android 6 broadly restricted recording calls, and Android 10 blocked using the microphone for call recording. The only alternative left for developers was to use the Accessibility API for call recording apps.

Google said remote in this context directs to phone audio recording where the person on the other end does not know the recording. However, dialer apps like Mi Dialer and Google Phone with call recording functionality could be unchanged by the modification.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Economic Times:  Google to ban all third-party call-recording apps from Play Store starting May 11
CNBC TV18: Google to ban third-party call recording apps from Play Store from May 11
Engadget: Google is banning third-party call recording apps from the Play Store; by S. Dent

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Yuri Samoilov’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Blogtrepreneur’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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