Google recently removed several apps from the Google Play Store after discovering they violated the Play Store terms of service—and, more importantly, could be used as stalkerware. That doesn’t mean they’re deleted from your Android device, though, so now’s a great time to remove them.
If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, “stalkerware” involves giving a third party access to another user’s device, location data, and other sensitive information. These apps often present themselves as “normal” tracking tools—for employee activity on company phones or your children’s whereabouts (a moral grey area to begin with), but they can also be used to spy on romantic partners, friends, or roommates.
These apps run afoul of Google’s policies for apps distributed via Google Play: “Surveillance and Commercial Spyware apps are explicitly prohibited on Google Play.
Only policy compliant apps exclusively designed and marketed for parental (including family) monitoring or enterprise management may distribute on the Store with tracking and reporting features, provided they fully comply with the requirements described below.”