Google bans third-party call recording apps from the Play Store

Google is introducing a new Play Store policy that will effectively block third-party call recording apps from the Play Store by May 11, according to a Reddit post seen by 9to5Google. These apps currently use the Accessibility API (designed for people with disabilities) to access audio features on Android devices.

“Apps with basic functionality intended to directly support people with disabilities are eligible to use IsAccessibilityTool,” the policy says. “Apps not eligible for IsAccessibilityTool cannot use the flag and must meet key disclosure and consent requirements. The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for audio recording of calls from a distance.”

Google has gradually tried to phase out call recording on Android, mainly due to privacy concerns. It was mostly stuck on Android 6 and the use of microphone for call recording was eliminated in Android 10. The last resort for call recording apps was to use the Accessibility API .

Google addressed the issue in a webinar video, stating that “remote control in this context refers to the audio recording of the call when the person on the other end is unaware of the recording.” He added that dialer apps such as Google Phone and Mi Dialer with native call recording functionality will not be affected by the change.

“If the app is the default dialer on the phone and it is also preloaded, accessibility capability is not required to access the incoming audio stream,” said Moun Choi, head of global content operations. at Google. “Therefore, it would not be in violation. Since this is a clarification of an existing policy, the new language will apply to all apps starting May 11.” It’s unclear whether the new policy means existing call recording apps will be removed from the Play Store.

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