Privacy, Security, and Deception

Privacy, Security, and Deception

We’re committed to protecting user privacy and providing a safe and secure environment for our users. Apps that are deceptive, malicious, or intended to abuse or misuse any network, device, or personal data are strictly prohibited.

Malicious Behavior

We don't allow apps that steal data, secretly monitor or harm users, or are otherwise malicious.

An app distributed via Google Play may not modify, replace, or update itself using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism. Likewise, an app may not download executable code (e.g. dex, JAR, .so files) from a source other than Google Play. This restriction does not apply to code that runs in a virtual machine and has limited access to Android APIs (such as JavaScript in a webview or browser).

Surveillance and Commercial Spyware apps are explicitly prohibited on Google Play. Only policy compliant apps exclusively designed and marketed for parental (including family) monitoring or enterprise management may distribute on the Store with tracking and reporting features, provided they fully comply with the requirements described below.

The following are explicitly prohibited:

  • Viruses, trojan horses, malware, spyware or any other malicious software.
  • Apps that link to or facilitate the distribution or installation of malicious software.
  • Apps or SDKs that download executable code, such as dex files or native code, from a source other than Google Play.
  • Apps that introduce or exploit security vulnerabilities.
  • Apps that steal a user's authentication information (such as usernames or passwords) or that mimic other apps or websites to trick users into disclosing personal or authentication information.
  • Apps may not depict unverified or real world phone numbers, contacts, addresses, or personally identifiable information of non-consenting individuals or entities.
  • Apps that install other apps on a device without the user's prior consent.
  • Apps designed to secretly collect device usage, such as commercial spyware apps.

Apps that monitor or track a user's behavior on a device must comply with these requirements:

  • Apps must not present themselves as a spying or secret surveillance solution.
  • Apps must not hide or cloak tracking behavior or attempt to mislead users about such functionality.
  • Present users with a persistent notification and unique icon that clearly identifies the app.
  • Apps and app listings on Google Play must not provide any means to activate or access functionality that violate these terms, such as linking to a non-compliant APK hosted outside Google Play.
  • You are solely responsible for determining the legality of your app in its targeted locale. Apps determined to be unlawful in locations where they are published will be removed.

Check out our App Security Improvement Program to find out about the most recent security issues flagged to developers on Google Play. Vulnerability and remediation details are available in each campaign's support page link.

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