UC Browser app vanishes from Play Store following privacy concerns

Hundreds of Android apps might be removed from the Google Play ...

Android app developers are reporting in posts on XDA Developers, Reddit, Android Police, and other forums that Google has sent out an email warning them that apps requesting accessibility services are to be used to assist users with disabilities with using Android devices and applications. Luckily, this is Android, so the developers can always just distribute their applications outside of the Play Store through sideloading, but that's not exactly a secure solution for most people - and let's be honest, not being in the Play Store will be the death knell for most developers. Developers whose apps use Android's accessibility features outside of their intended goal will need to abide by a few new rules or risk of having their apps removed from the Play Store entirely. Many popular apps using accessibility services in innovative ways may be impacted by the warning from Google.

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. On first use, the app reports that it requires Accessibility permissions to operate. Through the API, an app can see all the other apps the user is running and take an action when a specific app launches. Of course, this includes older versions of Android that no longer support updates to the Play Store. It also says that developers can alternatively remove the accessibility services within the app, or can choose to unpublish the app. The page even lists some non-accessibility examples for the accessibility API, like assisting "Users who are driving, taking care of a young child or attending a very loud party might need additional or alternative interface feedback". This in turn, can be used by a bad actor to enable malicious activity such as a phishing exploit, keylogger, or ransomware attack. Now, they are sized better in relation to the icon free space.

Hundreds of Android apps might be removed from the Google Play ...
UC Browser disappears from Google Play Store for 'misleading promotions'

Android Masters is a collegiate inter-school Android app development challenge open to all universities and colleges across the Philippines. Some developers are attempting to come up with workarounds, but, for the most part, nothing on Android compares with the accessibility APIs.

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