UC Browser taken down from Play store for misleading users

UC Browser for Android seems to have been taken down from the Google Play Store. The mobile version of the UC web browser disappeared on Tuesday as reported by a Reddit user. The Chinese mobile browser app had recently crossed 500 million downloads on Play Store.

Earlier, UC Browser had come under the scrutiny of Indian government back in August. There were reports claiming that the Alibaba-owned UCWeb was stealing sensitive user data which is sent back to remote servers in China without the user’s consent. As part of the investigation, Indian government officials expressed concerns about the data leaking of Indian users and hinted it may be banned if found guilty.

UC Browser

Security concerns with UC Browser were first reported back in May 2015 by the University of Toronto. The Canadian researchers claimed that the Chinese and English-language version of the browser was vulnerable to the data leak. It was easily alleged that the browser made available critical user information like location, search details, mobile and IMEI numbers to third parties.

However, after the allegations UCWeb had denied any wrongdoing, stating that it was a standard industry practice to collect user information and data in necessary conditions to provide users with local services.

While the main UC browser for Android has been removed from Play Store, however, it is to be noted that the UC Browser Mini, an alternative lighter version of UC browser, is still live on the Play Store. At present, there is no official confirmation or announcement regarding this from both Google and UCWeb.

UC Browser is developed by UCWeb, the company which is owned by China’s Alibaba Group. Apart from being a popular alternative to Google Chrome in its home country, the browser is also quite popular in India and was the sixth most downloaded Android app in India. The company also even claimed that 100 million of its total monthly active users are from India alone.