Google has updated its Personal Loans policy to prevent loan apps from accessing sensitive user data such as photos, videos, and contacts.

The move follows concerns that lenders are engaging in predatory behaviour, with debt collectors using personal contacts to harass borrowers, and, in some cases, employing manipulated images to intimidate them.

As of May 31, 2023, apps that provide personal loans or facilitate access to personal loans will be prohibited from accessing external storage, photos, videos, contacts, precise location, and call logs, according to Google.

Google has also introduced specific licensing documentation requirements for apps appearing on the Play Store offering personal loans in Pakistan. In the past, Google has been criticized for not doing enough to tackle predatory loan apps.

However, the company has responded to these concerns by blocking hundreds and thousands of personal loan apps from the Play Store, banning unlicensed loan apps, and introducing policy updates in several markets, including India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines.

The move is a significant step forward for Google, which is working to create a safer and more secure environment for its users. By restricting access to sensitive user data, the company is helping to prevent harassment and intimidation, ensuring that users are not targeted by predatory lenders.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it is essential that companies like Google take responsibility for the safety and security of their users, and this latest move is a positive step in that direction.