Android’s Accessibility Services has been largely used by app developers to design apps that are better suited for disabilities. Google has warned app developers not to use its Accessibility Services created for users with disabilities for other purposes that may create security issues, adding that it will remove such apps from Play Store. Google is doing this to better help users with disabilities.
Android has a set of Accessibility Services that developers can use to improve their applications. According to the report, Google is most likely cracking down on Accessibility Services use due to security reasons. While applications like LastPass use the available APIs to identify password fields in other apps, this level of access can be used maliciously.
The tech giant Google has an email to developers, mentioning that, “unless developers can describe how the app properly uses the Accessibility Services to help users who are disabled, it will need to remove all requests for accessibility services or it will be taken off of the Play Store”
Android Police got hold of one such email received by Battery-Saver, which states, “We’re contacting you because your app, Battery Saver System Shortcut, with package name com.floriandraschbacher.batterysaver.free is requesting the-
‘android.permission.BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE.’ Apps requesting accessibility services should only be used to help users with disabilities use Android devices and apps. Your app must comply with our Permissions policy and the Prominent Disclosure requirements of our User Data policy”.
Apps like LastPass, Universal Copy, Clipboard Actions, Cerberus, Tasker and Network Monitor Mini use Accessibility Services. The new directive could have major ramifications for several apps, especially those intended for customization or power users.
Google said, “All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts”.