Google Play Store Removes 14 Fake Data Stealing NADRA Apps

As per National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) request, Google has taken down 14 applications from its app store due to a breach of the personal information of Pakistani residents.

The Alphabet-owned US tech company was officially approached by NADRA regarding this matter. According to documents viewed by Dawn, the authority brought the topic to the attention of Scott Beaumont, Google’s president for Asia Pacific, Hiang Choong, the legal head for the region, and Stephanie Davis, the vice president for customer solutions at the company.

The letter titled “Breach of Personal Data of Residents and their Privacy by Application Providers on Google Play Store” was addressed to Google and highlighted the issue as “important and urgent”. It stated that:

The issue involving the personal data of residents of Pakistan, which is being illegally sold and/or shared by various applications (apps) hosted on your platform and available on Google Play Store.

According to NADRA, the recently removed apps were using its name and products illegally and deceptively to trick users into believing that the apps were in some way affiliated with, authorized by, or operated by them.

As a result, the apps gained undeserved credibility for their services. They were obtaining personal data from Pakistani residents, which violated Google’s policy on impersonation since it prohibits users from pretending to be someone else.

The letter added:

All such apps be immediately taken down from Google Play Store and to curb such illegal activities of sharing and selling NADRA’s proprietary, sensitive information, which could have serious security implications for Pakistan, as well breaching the privacy of residents, publishing, promoting of such apps using NADRA’s name or log should not be allowed in future.

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