Alarmed at the growing harmful financial services products on its Play Store in India, Google on Thursday said it has reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India and pulled down several of them found to be violating its app policies.
The company said it has asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations in India.
“We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies,” said Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy.
“Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice. In addition, we will continue to assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this issue,” Frey said in a statement.
There has been a surge in personal loan apps in India in the recent months, putting data of millions of users at risk.
Google said that to help further ensure that users are making sound choices, “we only allow personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued”.
The tech giant stressed that transparency of information around the features, fees, risks, and benefits of personal loans will help people make informed decisions about their financial needs, thereby reducing the risk of being exposed to deceptive financial products and services.
“To protect user privacy, developers must only request permissions that are necessary to implement current features or services. They should not use permissions that give access to user or device data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or disallowed features or purposes”.
Developers must also only use data for purposes that the user has consented to, and if they later want to use the data for other purposes, they must obtain user permission for the additional uses, Google said.