Google has removed dozens of apps from the Google Play Store that were secretly collecting users’ data, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The Journal said the Panamanian company that wrote the data-collecting code is linked to a Virginia defense contractor that does cyberintelligence work for US agencies.
The code was found in several Muslim prayer apps, a highway-speed-trap detection app, a QR-code reading app and a number of other popular consumer apps, the Journal reported, citing researchers who discovered the code. It reportedly ran on millions of Android devices.
Google told the Journal that the apps in question were removed from the Play Store on March 25 for collecting data outside of the tech giant’s established rules.
“All apps on Google Play must comply with our policies, regardless of the developer,” Google said in a statement. “When we determine an app violates these policies, we take appropriate action.”
This isn’t the first time Google has removed apps from the Play Store for collecting users’ data. In 2019, more than 1,000 apps were found to be collecting people’s data without their permission and were removed.
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