Google's War on Loan Apps: Enhancing Privacy and Security for All Users - Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)

  • On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google shared plans to update policies for financial services apps listed on the Google Play store at the end of May to prevent the “so-called” loan apps from accessing user contacts or photos.
  • Google will bar lending apps from requesting access to users’ precise locations, phone numbers, and videos, Financial Times reports citing the company’s policy details.
  • The new policy covers apps offering personal, payday, and peer-to-peer loans but not mortgages, car loans, or credit cards.
  • Studies found that hundreds of apps available through Google Play required prospective customers to grant them access to the most confidential information on their devices to proceed with an application. The access led to blackmail and harassment via photographs in regions like India and Mexico.
  • Cyber security company Lookout in November found over 250 apps with more than 15 million combined downloads were available on Google Play in Africa, south-east Asia, India, Colombia, and Mexico that it accused of “exfiltrating excessive user data from mobile devices and harassing borrowers for repayment.” 
  • Lookout detected another 35 similar apps on Apple Inc’s AAPL App Store. Apple and Google removed all the apps following Lookout’s report.
  • Google and Apple already block apps in the U.S. that charge an annual percentage rate of 36% or higher and have introduced a range of other rules for India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan.
  • Android has a 70% smartphone market share, with an estimated 3 billion active users worldwide.
  • Price Action: GOOG shares traded higher by 0.67% at $105.65 premarket on the last check Thursday.
  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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