Resources 2 min read  - February 15, 2017

Surviving Google's Play Store Crackdown

Google has been sending out warnings to developers with apps on the Google Play Store, letting them know that their apps will be removed if they don’t comply with Google’s User Data Policy. What’s the most common offense so far? Not having a privacy policy.

Google has been sending out warnings to developers with apps on the Google Play Store, letting them know that their apps will be removed if they don't comply with Google's User Data Policy. What's the most common offense so far? Not having a privacy policy.

Google requires apps to have a privacy policy if they're requesting access to user or device information. Requesting these permissions is a lot more common than developers think. If your app asks users for access to features such as the camera, microphone, phone, contacts, location - or any personal accounts or information - you'll need a privacy policy.

Developers have until March 15th to make any necessary changes. After that, Google will begin removing apps from the Play Store, and it's notorious for taking swift (and irreversible) action against any developers it thinks are bending the rules.

What should you do?

One option is to remove anything which requires disclosure to the app's users. This isn't an option for everyone, however. Most apps require these permissions to work the way they're intended to. Instead, developers should focus on developing a privacy policy by the March 15th deadline.

If you need help creating an acceptable privacy policy, you should first carefully review Google’s User Data Policy. Begin by identifying what your app needs to address. Then check out this customizable policy you can edit to suit your app, or this privacy policy generator. We also found this comprehensive list of resources to be helpful in navigating mobile privacy.

A note: The best option is still always to work with a lawyer for your particular needs. No one can guarantee that what worked for one developer will work for another. We know that plenty of developers often can't afford legal resources on top of all their other expenses, so we hope these resources serve as a useful starting point.

Permissions used by the Appodeal SDK

Appodeal requests certain permissions in order to serve ads:

ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE to check whether the user is connected to internet.
INTERNET to load and serve ads.
ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION (optional) to get the location of the user. Location is shared with our advertising partners to increase the relevance of ads.
WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE (optional) to cache video ads in the device memory.

Appodeal never collects private information, and you can read our privacy policy here.

We want to continue seeing your app on the Google Play Store - good luck!

Have you received a warning from Google for this or any other issue related to the User Data Policy? What changes are you making to your apps?

Marc Llobet
Product Marketing & Growth @ Appodeal
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