In today’s ExchangeWire News Digest: Google has removed apps that secretly collect and share user data; YouTube banned Russian parliamentary channel Duma TV from the platform; and Elon Musk will no longer join Twitter’s board.
Google removes apps that secretly collect user data
Google has removed more than a dozen apps from its Play Store after it was found to contain code that secretly harvested information from users.
The affected apps, which include Muslim prayer apps, a weather app and a QR code scanner, contained a software development kit (SDK) that sent sensitive information to a third party. Data, including people’s locations, email addresses, phone numbers, and their phone’s unique IMEI identification number, was sent to Measurement Systems, without the consent of app users. Although based in Panama, Measurement Systems can be traced back to a Virginia-based company, Vostrom Holdings.
Some of the affected apps have been downloaded over 10 million times.
Speaking to the BBCa Google spokesperson commented, “All apps on Google Play must follow our policies, regardless of developer,” adding, “When we determine an app violates these policies, we take appropriate action.”
The tech giant previously warned developers of the need to ensure users are clear about what information they share with apps. In December last year, Google said apps that violate its data policy could be banned from the Play Store. The statement followed the revelation that at least two app partners of UK-based company Huq, which collects location data, had failed to apply for the appropriate user permissions.
Apps banned from the Google Play Store for prohibited collection of user data are eligible to seek reinstatement if the offending code is removed, reports the BBC.
YouTube blocks Russian Duma TV
Duma TV, the YouTube channel of Russia’s lower house of parliament, was terminated by the platform for “violating YouTube’s terms of service”. The ban is the latest sanction YouTube has imposed on Russian media since the country’s forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, and follows the platform’s decision to block Kremlin-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik earlier. March.
The decision drew heavy criticism from Russian officials, who warned that the Alphabet-owned streaming platform could face retaliatory restrictions. Writing on the Telegram messaging service, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “YouTube signed its own mandate” before urging users to save the content and upload it to Russian platforms.
Russia’s telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor reportedly called on Google to lift restrictions on Duma and accused the company of adhering to “a pronounced anti-Russian stance in the information war unleashed by Israel.” West” against the State.
Although YouTube did not confirm the reasons for Duma’s outright ban, the move follows news of massacres in Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, last week.
Talk to POLITICSa Google spokesperson commented, “Google is committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action,” adding that the tech giant is “monitoring the situation closely.” ” for updates.
Elon Musk declines seat on Twitter board
Elon Musk has decided not to join Twitter’s board. The news is the latest development in the billionaire’s involvement with the micro-blogging platform since become its largest shareholder last week.
After buying a $2.89bn (£2.3bn) stake in Twitter on Tuesday (April 5), Musk increased his stake in the platform to 9.2%, more than four times the co’s stake. -Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal took to the platform on April 6 to announce that Musk had agreed to join the boardbut confirmed today (April 11) that the Tesla boss has since changed his mind.
Tweeting an excerpt from an internal memo, Agrawal shared, “Elon’s appointment to the board was supposed to officially become effective on 9/4, but Elon shared that morning that he will no longer be joining the board. administration. I believe it is for the best.
“We do and will always welcome feedback from our shareholders, whether or not they serve on our board of directors,” Agrawal added. “Elon is our largest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.”
The announcement is likely to come as a relief to Twitter employees, who were reportedly concerned about Musk’s potential influence in moderating content on the platform. Musk has yet to officially comment on his decision.
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