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Google Play Store plans to block third-party call recording apps

In a report by 9to5Google , a new Play Store policy to be introduced by Google is expected to prohibit third-party call recording apps. In principle, these apps allow users to record call audio without the other side of the conversation knowing. This is made possible through the use of Accessibility API, with which Google would be implementing changes in by May 11 of this year.

“Apps with a core functionality intended to directly support people with disabilities are eligible to use the IsAccessibilityTool,” the Developer Program Policy released last April 6 stated, “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.”

“Apps must use more narrowly scoped APIs and permissions in lieu of the Accessibility API when possible to achieve the desired functionality,” the policy added.

“If the app is the default dialer on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream,” explained Google Content Global Operations lead Moun Choi in a recent developer policy webinar, “Hence, [it] would not be in violation. Since this is a clarification to an existing policy, the new language will apply to all apps starting on May 11th.”

Essentially, this means recording apps installed via Google Play Store would lose this functionality. This does clarify, however, if all existing apps using the Accessibility API will be blocked from Play Store.

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Avatar for Arius Lauren Raposas

A public servant with a heart for actively supporting technology and futures thinking, responding accordingly to humanity's needs and goals, increasing participation of people in issues concerning them, upholding rights and freedoms, and striving further to achieve more despite our limited capacities. In everything, to God be all the glory.

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