Starting next month on May 11, 2022, the Google Play Store will begin killing off “remote” call recording apps. Remote refers to the fact that the person on the other end of the call is unaware that you’re recording the conversation. Obviously, the implications of this are far-reaching when you consider each individual state or country’s policy regarding a one or two-person consent for recordings like this as they vary.
If an application that records conversations is the default on the phone because it was preloaded by the manufacturer, it will still be allowed to operate, because these companies have presumably gone through the necessary channels to implement them with the understanding that these features will be available across the board for their users.
However, third-party applications in the Play Store that perform this functionality are not used by everyone by default, so the understanding that one could be recorded while speaking is not assumed. When asked if this update would affect all apps or just those targeting Android 12, a developer seen in the video below went on to clarify that it would be the former.
This change was first posted to the Android subreddit by user NLL-APPS and later reported by Android Authority. Google has been peeling away APIs that allow users to record others without their consent over the past few versions of Android, but now, it’s going to be cracking down hard.
At this time, we’re not sure if the company will begin removing or hiding apps that don’t follow this new rule when the time comes, or if it will strongly encourage developers to abide by it first, but one thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that Google is hell-bent on cleaning up its Store with these changes as it’s been something of a wild west for too long, just like the Chrome Web Store!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had your phone call recorded without your consent, or if you ask each time you have a vital conversation with someone. The fact that apps like this have even existed for so long and have gone unchecked just baffles me, but I’m glad to see changes in the works that will radically uproot them. At the same time, I don’t want carriers or big tech companies like Google being the only ones who can have ownership of such features, as that creates a monopoly, and they’re not usually any good at respecting user privacy either, so we’ll see over time how this unfolds.