Google regularly updates its Play Store developer policies, and whenever it does so, it makes life difficult for some other categories of apps to ensure overall well being. This time it’s the cryptocurrency mining apps turn.
Cryptocurrency mining apps – why on ban list?
Google’s new Play Store developer policies now prohibit cryptocurrency mining apps, but the apps that “remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency” are still allowed. As of now, it is not clear if the new Play Store developer policies apply only to the new apps or if the old ones are also on the list.
Google gave no reason for its ban on the cryptocurrency mining apps, but it might have to do with cryptojacking, where greedy developers hide crypto-mining software in other apps without users knowing it. Cryptojacking has been a known issue on the Play Store for years, and possibly this is why Google is blocking the mining apps.
Another reason could be to optimize the performance of your smartphone. In most cases, a smartphone is not the perfect mining device as they lack the needed power. Preventing untethered mining operations on the device is crucial as it may harm your smartphone’s battery and even your smartphone if the battery catches fire or leaks. Such incidents have been reported. There are reports of Android malware strains like Loapi and HiddenMalware causing physical damage to the smartphone.
Apple also recently banned the cryptocurrency mining apps, saying the “only cryptocurrency mining apps allowed are those that mine outside of the device, like cloud-based mining.” The iPhone maker also banned apps that use crypto coins as an incentive to get app downloads or social media engagement.
Chrome Web Store already banned the crypto mining extensions earlier this year. Opera Web browser also introduced an anti-cryptocurrency mining feature. Recently, Google and Facebook also banned cryptocurrency-related ads on their ad-platforms as such ads are known to promote scams and phishing sites.
New Play Store developer policies ban cut-copy-paste
Apart from the cryptocurrency mining apps, new Play Store developer policies also cracked down on several other categories of the apps, including the Repetitive apps. These are the apps that offer the same experience or are a copy of already existing apps. Google’s new policies will now block the app if they copy the content from another app without offering anything unique.
Further, apps from the same developer offering similar content and user experiences will also be blocked. The “apps that are created by an automated tool, wizard service, or based on templates and submitted to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons are not allowed,” the search giant explains.
Restricting apps promoting terrorism, hate speech
Another category of apps in the blocked list are the ones that support the “sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories.” The ban also includes the apps that give instructions to the users on making their own guns and explosives, or the ones that help users convert a weapon to be semi-automatic/automatic.
Further, the search giant also updated its Play Store developer policies to restrict the apps that include content that “sexualises minors.” Google’s restricted list also includes apps that target children but contain adult themes. Also, the company said that it will delete and report to the concerned authorities of the apps involved in the distribution of content related to child sexual abuse imagery.
“To ensure that Google Play remains a safe and respectful platform, we’ve created standards defining and prohibiting content that is harmful or inappropriate for our users,” the search giant says.
In addition, the apps promoting discrimination based on factors of religion, disability, age, ethnic origin, nationality, race, veteran status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic are also banned. Further, the apps promoting hate speech, violence and self-harm are also on the restricted list.
Along with these, the apps facilitating “gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities” in the form of graphical depiction or description of violence to any person or animal are also restricted. Also, sexually explicit content including sexually suggestive poses, depictions of sex acts, images of sex toys and similar things are blocked. The apps promoting escort services or other services “that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation” also fall in the blocked list.