Google Play To Ban Call-Recording Apps

Google has announced a “bizarre” policy that effectively bans call-recording apps from the Play Store, ArsTechnica reports. From the report:*As part of Google’s crackdown on apps that use Android’s accessibility APIs for non-accessibility reasons, Google says call recording is no longer allowed via the accessibility APIs. Since the accessibility APIs are the only way for third-party apps to record calls on Android, call-recording apps are dead on Google Play. NLL Apps – the developer of a call-recording phone app with a million downloads on the Play Store – has been tracking the policy change. The Google Play support page lays down the new law, saying:

“The Accessibility API is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.” Google’s ban kicks in on May 11, the first day of Google I/O, oddly. There’s no clear reason why Google is banning call recording from the Play Store. Many jurisdictions require the consent of one or more members of a call in order to start recording, but once you meet that requirement, recording is entirely legal and useful. The Google Recorder app is a product built entirely around the usefulness of recording conversations. Google doesn’t seem to have a problem with call recording when it comes to its own apps, either – the Google Phone app on Pixel phones supports call recording in some countries. Google just doesn’t provide the proper APIs to let third-party app developers compete with it in this market, and now it’s shutting down their attempted workarounds.*