Google plans to remove all apps that do not comply with its “Permissions policy and Prominent Disclosure requirements
,” the search giant announced. Some developers that are using a special API meant to be used to create apps for users with disabilities to make apps that have other purposes, have been contacted by Google and asked to make some changes to their apps.
Among the apps that are using this API for users with disabilities, you might have already heard about LastPass
, Tasker or Network Monitor Mini, but there are other popular apps using it as well.
Developers make use of Google's API to add some functionality to their apps that have nothing to do with its initial purpose, such as overlay content, fill in text fields and so on. The reason Google doesn't want these apps to keep using the API is that they can potentially create a security risk once a user grants the right permissions.
Apps requesting accessibility services should only be used to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps. Your app must comply with our Permissions policy and the Prominent Disclosure requirements of our User Data policy. Action required: If you aren’t already doing so, you must explain to users how your app is using the ‘android.permission.BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE’ to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps.
According to Google, all apps that fail to meet its requirements within 30 days will be removed from Play Store. Another option for devs who are using the API is to remove any requests for accessibility services within their app.
Well, that's just fine and dandy, but what about those apps that are using the API for the right purpose – to help disabled people? Aren't those supposed to be exposed to the same security risks? If yes, why aren't they being removed as well?
Update: We've received a statement from LastPass that states the changes imposed by Google will not affect users in any way. There's also a blog post where LastPass developers explain how they're working with Google "to ensure a long-term solution that meets user needs and their accessibility requirements." Check out the source link below for more details.