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Google admits it could theoretically review and digitally sign sideloaded apps so users could directly download them.

“That seems possible,” says Kleidermacher. Epic did not ask why Google has not done this — I humbly suspect the answer is that it would be quite an undertaking.

Now we’re talking about Google Play Protect, which automatically scans apps for malware. It’s recently been getting better at blocking malicious apps but didn’t block predatory loan apps and some knockoff apps in a TechCrunch test.