Android Messages automatic spam protection has started rolling out

Google has confirmed that automatic spam protection in the default Android Messages app has started rolling out for some users. The deployment was first spotted by Android Police. After displaying a notification to inform the user that the feature has been enabled, the app will start scanning messages sent to you in order to proactively detect and block spam messages. However, privacy concerns have been raised regarding the way the feature stores associated phone numbers.

Automatic spam protection, which is disabled by default, can be disabled from the advanced settings menu. Google was unable to provide an exact timeline for the rollout of the new feature, but said it is currently being phased out in a few countries and the company plans to release it more widely “in the coming months. “.

Google quickly downplayed privacy concerns about how the feature tracks and stores details of sent messages. Message users can already report text messages, but working in the background automatically, Google now collects and stores phone numbers temporarily. In a statement provided to The edge, a Google spokesperson said:

To help identify spammers, Google temporarily stores the phone numbers of people who send and receive messages with you and the time they sent messages with you, but does not store your phone number or content from. these messages.

However, Google’s support site, which was recently updated with details on data protection, notes that if you choose to manually report a message as spam, the full content of the message is sent. Google’s software may ask you to submit a manual report if it identifies a message as spam, in which case “up to 10” messages from the suspected spammer will be sent to Google. During this time, operators who support spam reports may receive a separate copy of the last message and the spammer’s phone number.

So what about text messages sent between users of Messages that have spam protection turned on? In this case, Google would theoretically store their two numbers. However, in this case, Google has confirmed The edge this data would not be directly associated between accounts, even if a user is flagged for spam.

The new feature comes just weeks after the Federal Communications Commission voted to reclassify SMS as an information service in an effort to combat phone spam. The regulator argued that this was necessary in order to give network operators more power to block unwanted messages. At least one consumer advocacy group has criticized the change and said it could allow phone companies to discriminate against messages and undermine both consumers and free speech.

About Sandra A. Powell

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