Google Play Removal because of personal and sensitive information policy

Got a not nice surprise today.

Hi developers at XXXXX,

After review, YYYYYYYYYYYY, has been removed from Google Play because it violates our personal and sensitive information policy and section 4.8 of the Developer Distribution Agreement. This app won’t be available to users until you submit a compliant update.

Policy issue: Google Play requires developers to provide a valid privacy policy when the app requests or handles sensitive user or device information. Your app requests sensitive permissions (e.g. camera, microphone, accounts, contacts, or phone) or user data, but does not include a valid privacy policy.

it continues…

Looks like the issue from Play store page, is “Your app has an apk with version code 1 that requests the following permission(s): android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE. Apps using these permissions in an APK are required to have a privacy policy set.”

This app (built off SAB) has been published for 2 years and this must be a new thing Google is doing and I don’t remember getting email about it before the shutdown notice.

Has anyone else dealt with this? I am just running analytics on anonymous data, not doing anything weird. Is there a standard privacy policy someone wrote up so I can copy and paste? Thank you!

1 Like

Where was the app published?
I wonder if it would have anything to do with the General Data Protection Regulation being implemented in Europe right now?

I’m updating several of our apps at the moment and will begin collecting basic analytics. We do not have a published privacy policy and while our apps have not been removed yet i’m keen to know what others have done with respect to an app privacy policy.

No one has responded yet but like you said, Chris, it is just a matter of time. I am searching for “privacy policy generators”, there are quite a few, one cost about $40, some are free for personal use so I will probably use one of those soon.

This reminds me very much of Sarbox, well intentioned but a giant waste of time and energy. Oh well, the cause is worth the hour or two I need to put into this.

I think you can resolve this one: you no longer need the phone state permission if you rebuild the app with the latest version of SAB. I remember seeing something about this a couple of years ago - SAB has found another way of pausing audio during a phone call without this permission.

I have been using SAB for a while, and got a warning that I needed to set a Privacy Policy back in April or May 2016, not long after I put our app on the Play Store.

I can’t remember how, but somehow I got round it – and I didn’t remove the requirement for READ_PHONE_STATE.