Google implements new Play Store policies for apps that request SMS and Call Log permissions

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Google has introduced privacy and security focused changes as part of an update to Google Play Developer policies. In a move designed to protect sensitive data, there are new rules for apps that request SMS and Call Log permissions.

With immediate effect, it will only be possible for apps configured to be the default calling or text app to access phone and SMS data.

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Google has not indicated whether the change has come about because of its Project Strobe audit -- the one that unearthed a Google+ API issued that meant user data was leaked, and something that Google decided to cover up. What is clear, however, is that Google is at pains -- more than ever -- to convince users that it is taking their privacy and security seriously.

In a blog post about the new policies, Google says:

Some Android apps ask for permission to access a user's phone (including call logs) and SMS data. Going forward, Google Play will limit which apps are allowed to ask for these permissions. Only an app that has been selected as a user's default app for making calls or text messages will be able to access call logs and SMS, respectively.

Paul Bankhead, director of product management at Google Play explains that starting in November, "Google Play will require updates to existing apps to target API level 26 (Android 8.0) or higher" -- a policy that already applies to new apps.

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