Google deletes apps from the Google Play Store. The reason why Google deleted these 7 apps was, they were violating the Play Store terms of service. and, most importantly, suspected to be used as stalkerware, Google discovered. They were designed for spying on employees, partners, family members, and children.
If you’re not aware much about the phrase ‘stalkerware’, let we give a brief to you. stalkerware involves providing third party access to another user’s device detail such as location data, text messages, call history, and other sensitive information. Usually, these apps represent themselves as normal tracking tools to track employee activity on company phones or Kids whereabouts which is a moral grey zone. but they can, and in most cases, be used to spy on friends, romantic partners, roommates or others, and that might be with a bad intention.
A security company Avast reported to Google that four apps allow people to track a user’s details, contact list, text messages, and even their call history. Later, the Avast also detected three more apps that were also had an intention for snooping. The company ‘Avast’ was responsible for highlighting these seven stalkerware apps to Google.
The web giant Google has the policy to ban the apps that secretly track or can harm users. That’s why shortly after the reports, the company has removed the apps. But if you had downloaded them previously, then they’re still in your Android device. So, you should remove them from there.
Google deletes Apps on Play Store after found using stalkerware
The list of these 7 deleted apps is as below:
- Employee Work Spy
- Mobile Tracking
- Phone Cell Tracker
- SMS Tracker
- Spy Kids Tracker
- Spy Tracker
- Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free
These apps distributed via Google Play and were not working as per Google’s policies. As per the policy – Surveillance and Commercial Spyware apps are explicitly prohibited on Google Play Store. Only policy-compliant apps that are exclusively made and marketed for parental monitoring can be distributed through Play store. Also, enterprise management apps also may distribute with valid tracking and reporting features. And after all, they must comply with the requirements described in Google’s policy.
As part of the above requirements, tracking apps need to show that they’re in an active situation and don’t mislead users about their purpose. Furthermore, if apps try to hide on a user’s device and send their location data to someone else then there is a red signal.
If you suspect that your detail is being tracked somehow, then you can think to perform a factory reset on your device. After the reset, you’ll have to reinstall your apps, but you’ll, at least, be free from the fear of being a victim of spying. But always back up your critical data like your photos and videos before you start to reset. In addition, when you buy a new device, make sure to set up a stronger unlocking method so that someone can’t dig it to install any tracking tools.