Privacy International, along with over 50 organisations including Amnesty International, DuckDuckGo, and the ACLU, are asking Google to stop bundling apps in Android that cannot be uninstalled, potentially creating privacy and security issues.
Google has the power to improve the privacy and security of cheap phones. They already certify many of them as part of their Android Partners programme, which allows certain phones to use the Android trademark and 'play protect' branding. But, at the moment, many Android Partners are manufacturing or selling devices that contain pre-installed apps that cannot be deleted (often known as “bloatware”), which can leave users vulnerable to their data being collected, shared and exposed without their knowledge or consent.
"Privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at least in theory. It is time for this double punishment to end. Being economically vulnerable should not mean losing your fundamental rights and companies have a responsibility to protect their consumers," Privacy International said.
In an open letter to Google, Privacy International asks that the Android maker allow users to permanently uninstall every app that is preinstalled on their phones, ensure that its bundled apps same adhere to the same rules as Play Store apps, allow preinstalled apps to be updated through the Play Store without requiring a Google account, and refuse to certify any devices in which hardware makers or partners try to circumvent these changes to exploit user privacy.
If you are interested, you can sign their petition here.