Google to launch privacy feature for apps on Play Store

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 07, 2021

This will throw light on the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security

Google has announced a new privacy feature for apps on Google Play Store, which will be implemented next year.

An upcoming safety section in Google Play will “help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security.”

In addition to the data an app collects or shares, it is introducing new elements to highlight whether an app has security practices such as data encryption, if it follows its Families policy, if it needs this data to function, or if users have a choice in sharing it.

It will also display if the app’s safety section is verified by an independent third party and if it enables users to request data deletion if they decide to uninstall.

The tech giant will ask developers to share information related to the same. Developers will have time to declare the information for this new section. By Q1 2022, users will begin seeing the section on Google Play. The deadline for all new and existing apps to comply is Q2 2022.

Among other things, Google will ask developers to declare what type of data is collected and stored through their apps and how the data is used.

“Similar to app details like screenshots and descriptions, developers are responsible for the information disclosed in their section. Google Play will introduce a policy that requires developers to provide accurate information,” the tech giant said in a blog post.

“If we find that a developer has misrepresented the data they’ve provided and is in violation of the policy, we will require the developer to fix it. Apps that are not compliant will be subject to policy enforcement,” it said.

It is extending the policy to its own apps as well. All apps on Google Play, including Google's own apps, will be required to share this information and provide a privacy policy.

Starting Q2 2022, new app submissions and app updates must include this information, it said.

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

Just like a nutrition label displays what’s inside packed groceries, the label will help users understand the types of information being collected from them within the app, along with where and how it is being used by third parties.

App developers will need to identify all of the data that they and their third-party partners collect. All information within the app label is self-reported.

Published on May 07, 2021

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