Google Bans Apps That Claim to Generate Fake IDs From the Play Store
Before the existence of Google Play Protect, the Play Store was reminiscent of the wild west, where you could download just about everything. Very often, the shadier apps came with a serving of malware, something that has become a thing of a past now, thanks to Play Protect. Over the past year, Google has cracked down upon several apps that could be considered inappropriate or dangerous. The latest batch of apps to get the ban hammer are ones that help users generate fake IDs.
Among the many shady apps already on the Play Store, there are several apps in the Play Store that promise to help you make a fake ID. As expected, most of them are for comic relief and often product hilarious results, but that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. Here’s the new wording from Google’s developer policy centre. Another category of apps getting the hammer are the ones that falsely mimic system messages, which we have all encountered at some point in time, in the form of fake virus alerts.
We don’t allow apps that attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behaviour. Apps must provide accurate disclosure of their functionality and should perform as reasonably expected by the user. Apps must not attempt to mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other apps. Any changes to device settings must be made with the user’s knowledge and consent and be easily reversible by the user. Any claim that an app is a “prank”, “for entertainment purposes” (or other synonym) does not exempt an app from application of our policies.
So, just like in real life, the “It’s just a prank, bro!” defence won’t work with Google anymore. Apps that promise to help you make a fake ID will not be permitted in the Play Store, end of story. However, there’s nothing stopping developers from hosting those apps someplace else, and we can find a plethora of them on platforms such as F-Droid.
Although you can still find such apps on the Play Store, they won’t be around for long, and Google will begin culling them soon. Most of the applications are a half-baked attempt at creating an ID, and I doubt they’ll be missed by a lot of people. Let’s face it; if you were legitimately looking for a fake ID, the Play Store wouldn’t be on the top of your list of places to look for it.