Tightening Up the Privacy Fence

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As intelligent as humans are known to be, we are guilty of having a tunnel vision at times. You see, we are so focused on our objectives that we fail to notice anything else, and such a thing benefits no one.  This dynamic can, in fact, go on to produce many detrimental consequences along the way, with some of them also capable of leaving an indelible mark. Hence, to avoid the said scenario, the world would bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. These bodies quickly established a sense of order that we had never seen before, and it felt like we were finally in the clear. However, we’ll start to feel a lot differently once technology takes over the scene. Right from the get-go, technology’s layered nature was an advantage for the rule breakers. It gave them all the space to hide their misdoings, therefore nullifying the regulatory authority in a rather unabashed manner. Fortunately, though, the regulatory industry didn’t take it lying down, and the pushback from their end is now becoming more and more evident every day. An iteration of the same was on full display following Google’s latest decision.

Google is officially changing its Play Store policy in regards to a particular Accessibility API, which can no longer be used to collect audio call recordings. Up until recently, Google had never explicitly stated the same, but with that loophole in the bin, apps cannot use the API for call recordings outside of the intended use. This can have clear implications for many third-party call recorders that are wholly reliant on the Accessibility API to carry out their core function. According to a Google spokesperson, “Only services that are designed to help people with disabilities access their device or otherwise overcome challenges stemming from their disabilities are eligible to declare that they are accessibility tools. It should be obvious when reading the Google Play Store description of an accessibility tool who those users are and how the app helps them meet the challenges they face,”

Notably enough, this does not include Google’s own app, which has been in several controversies for recording calls. Apart from it, Samsung and its native call recording app can also continue to function without any hiccup, as it doesn’t use the Accessibility API. Google’s decision to rectify its stance on the stated element seems to be motivated by the growing privacy concerns. Over the last two years or so, the scrutiny around Big Tech companies’ practices has reached all-time high, therefore forcing names like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Instagram to make some much needed amends. However, we can very well expect to see more of such decisions moving forward.

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