Google cracks down on apps that misuse accessibility features

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 14, 2017

However, developers like LastPass have been using the functions for other purposes like autofilling passwords and overlaying content. That gives them an easy way to read data from other apps like YouTube, but it also creates a potential security risk.

Google has removed the popular "UC Browser" from the Google Play Store. According to the e-mail, Google's new rules require that "Apps requesting accessibility services should only be used to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps". If the developers are unable to convince the search giant within 30 days of receiving the mail, their apps will be removed from the Play Store. It also says that developers can alternatively remove the accessibility services within the app, or can choose to unpublish the app. "This is really bad news", Universal Copy's developer said on the Reddit Android Reddit.

UC Browser is the sixth most downloaded Android app in India, and crossed 500 million downloads few weeks back. That will disable some functionality, especially on older Android builds. "Unfortunately ... people using Tasker on a pre-Lollipop device won't be able to use app contexts anymore".

Google is aiming to take down the malicious apps from Play Store with this move.

As first reported by XDA Developers, a number of app developers have received an e-mail from Google in regard to their accessibility app.

With the accessibility API, apps can access lots of powerful commands that let them function a bit like a system-level app, and the legitimate, non-accessibility uses are nearly endless. We've reached out to Google for more information.

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