You may not be shocked that the search engine giant, Google, is scanning every single app on your phone, even if you downloaded it from third-parties and not from the Google Store. But is it really doing it for ‘the right reason’?
Google has confirmed in a security report that it is tracking applications through their Verify Apps feature. This system is said to ensure that Potentially Harmful Applications don’t find their way into your Android phones.
“Google’s systems use machine learning to see patterns and make connections that humans would not,” Google explained. “Google Play analyzes millions of data points, asset nodes, and relationship graphs to build a high-precision security-detection system.”
While Verify Apps has been active for a few years now, Google added the Safety Net feature in 2014, granting it the ability to scan and collect data from all apps on your phone. Google stated that full device scans run once a week and by the end of 2014, over 200 million devices were being scanned every day.
In terms of what is actually being collected from your phone and apps, Google stated that it “only collects data needed to provide and improve device security”. While the company claims it is not collecting sensitive data, should you feel like you do not want to be tracked, you can turn off the feature by navigating to the Settings->Security section and disabling the “Scan device for security threats” feature.
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