Google announces additional details for upcoming safety section in Google Play

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 29, 2021

The feature will help developers provide users with “deeper insight” into their privacy and security practices

Google announced additional details for an upcoming ‘safety’ section in Google Playand has shared details about the data type definitions, user journey, and policy requirements of the new feature.

Google had first announced the safety section in May this year.

The feature will help developers provide users with “deeper insight” into their privacy and security practices, as well as explain the data the app may collect and why — all before users install the app, the tech giant said.

“Ultimately, all Google Play Store apps will be required to share information in the safety section,” it said.

Users will see the new summary in an app’s store listing page. It will share the developer’s explanation of what data an app collects and shares as well as highlight safety details. This includes whether the app has security practices, like data encryption in place, if it follows Google’s Families policy or if it has been independently validated against a global security standard.

Users can see further details by tapping on the summary. This would include what type of data is collected and shared, such as location, contacts, personal information (e.g., name, email address), financial information, etc. It will also include how the data is used, such as for app functionality, personalisation, and more as well as whether data collection is optional or required in order to use an app.

The final design, however, is subject to change, Google said.

Privacy policy

Additionally, it has also announced new user data policies. As per the update, all developers must provide a privacy policy. Previously, only apps that collected personal and sensitive user data were required to share a privacy policy.

Developers will also be responsible for providing “accurate and complete” information in their safety section, including data used by the app’s third party libraries or SDKs.

This applies to all apps published on Google Play, including Google’s own apps.

As per the timeline shared by Google, developers can submit information in the Google Play Console for review starting October 2021. The new safety section will launch for apps in Google Play in Q12022.

Developers will have until April 2022 before their apps will require to have this section approved.

“Without an approved section, your new app submission or app update may be rejected,” it said.

If an app’s information is not approved by the time the section is launched in Google Play to users in Q12022, then it will display “No information available.”

Google’s safety section comes after Apple applied a similar policy for its apps. Apple last year had announced a range of new privacy features with the iOS 14 at its Worldwide Developers Conference 2020. As part of this, it had introduced its new policy to display a “nutrition” label detailing privacy information.

Published on July 29, 2021

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