FairEmail returns to Google Play

One of the most popular open source alternatives to Gmail is FairEmail, which has garnered more than 500,000 downloads on the Play Store over the years. Unfortunately, the app was recently banned from the Play Store with an obscure script from Google, which left the developer frustrated to drop all of its open source apps.

But fans of the service can finally look forward to it again. After a phone call, the developer and Google were able to clarify the situation, and FairEmail will finally return to the Play Store.

The developer explained on the XDA forum the progress he could have made after the media coverage of the Play Store ban. In a phone call, a Google spokesperson explained that the issue the Play Store team had with the app was a lack of appropriate disclosures in its privacy policy, which didn’t say what personal information could be sent to servers and when.

The developer has since updated the privacy policy with details of this and is in the process of submitting an updated app to the Play Store and on Github. Unlike the previous version, the new privacy policy looks more complete, although the developer is asking his community for help in determining whether that is really enough.

The developer added, “The short-term goal is to release a beta version of the app to the Play Store (and on GitHub). I’ll think about the next steps when that’s done. Due to the huge number of support messages I’ve received (so grateful!), the project will continue in some form anyway “.

It’s good to see that FairEmail will definitely return to the Play Store and very likely work on it, but Google still needs to overhaul its moderation practices. The company text hinted that the app doesn’t have a full privacy policy, and it didn’t.

The privacy policy later introduced for the app did not touch upon the main elements required by Google, which resulted in a blanket ban. In such cases, Google should make it easier for developers to communicate with the policy enforcement team.

For now, you can still only get FairEmail on Github or F-Droid, but we hope it will be available on the Play Store again soon.

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