Authors: Shivani Gupta, Rohit Kumar
Published: June 2021
Lately, several reports have highlighted the user impact of fraudulent apps. These apps pose a threat to India’s growing smartphone user community, particularly due to limited understanding of digital safety. In such a situation, it becomes imperative for India to take the lead in creating user-friendly and safe app store ecosystems.
In the attached document, we present a detailed note on the due diligence processes deployed by the Google Play Store, an app store platform owned by Google. We delve deeper into the Play Store simply because of its large market share in the Indian context; the presence of fraudulent apps is otherwise a matter of concern for all app stores including the Apple App Store. Our research suggests that while app stores undertake several checks before listing an app on the platform, the checks deployed after an app is listed are limited. Several instances have been reported where apps that used bots as tools for impersonation, or violated user safety policies continued to be available on app stores for several years despite posing a risk to users. As a result, a large number of apps continue to commit cyber fraud often leading to grave consequences for users. This calls for the adoption of a more robust mechanism to keep fraudulent apps off app stores.
Access the policy brief here