Google Policy Effectively Bans Outside Call-Recording Apps

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Google is taking away the technical back door used by call-recording apps.


Google

A new Google policy will effectively ban call-recording apps from the Play Store starting next month.

Under the change, first spotted by Ars Technica, call recording will no longer be allowed via Google’s accessibility APIs. It’s part of the tech giant’s ongoing crackdown on apps that use its accessibility APIs as technical workarounds, rather than for accessibility reasons. 

Since the accessibility APIs are the only way for third-party apps to record calls on Android, call-recording apps are essentially no longer allowed in the Play Store. The ban is set to officially take affect on May 11.

In a statement to CNET, Google says that its accessibility APIs are designed with the intent of helping people with disabilities use its devices and software, not for call-recording purposes.

While the policy bans the call-recording apps from Google’s app store, that doesn’t mean Android users will no longer have access to them. Unlike Apple’s iOS, the Android operating system is an open one that allows users to download apps from stores other than its own. 

The practice, known as sideloading, gives consumers more options, but many security experts say it also opens them up to potential security and privacy risks.

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