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FairEmail is bound to return to the Play Store after updating its privacy policy

Google didn’t quite specify what the problem was initially

FairEmail is one of the most popular open-source alternatives to Gmail, having racked up over 500,000 downloads on the Play Store over the years. Unfortunately, the app was recently banned from the Play Store with unclear wording from Google, leading the developer to throw in the towel and pull all of its open source apps in frustration. Fans of the service can rejoice, however. After a phone call, the developer and Google were able to clear up the situation, with FairEmail set to return to the Play Store.

As spotted by Caschys Blogthe developer took the XDA-Forums to explain the progress he was able to make following media coverage of the Play Store ban. In a phone call, a Google representative made it clear that the issue the Play Store team had with the app was the lack of adequate disclosures in its privacy policy, which did not mention what personal data could potentially be sent to the servers and when. The developer has since updated privacy policy with details about it, and is in the process of submitting an updated app to the Play Store and Github. Unlike the previous versionthe new privacy policy seems much more comprehensive, although the developer is asking for help from its community to see if it’s really enough.


The developer further shared, “The short-term goal is to release a Play Store test build (and associated GitHub build) and get the update approved. I will consider next steps once this has been accomplished. Given the large number of messages of support I have received (much appreciated!), the project will continue in one form or another in any case. »

It’s great to see that FairEmail is set to return to the Play Store and the work will most likely continue, but Google still needs to fix its moderation practices. The company’s wording suggested the app completely lacked a privacy policy, which it didn’t, leading the developer to dismiss the errors it contained as the culprit. Versions subsequently submitted failed to address the primary concern, leading to the outright ban. In such cases, Google should make it easier for developers to communicate with its enforcement team and articulate the issues there much more clearly.

Right now you can still only get FairEmail on GithubGenericName or F-Droidbut it should soon be available again on the Play Store.

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