Google Play Store Adds Privacy Labels To Apps

Nearly two years after Apple introduced data privacy “nutrition labels” on its App Store, mandating every developer to clearly lay out what data their app will collect from the user and what use it will be put to.

On Tuesday, Google rolled out a similar feature, adding data safety section which came into effect today. In short, users will be able to see more information about how apps collect, share and secure users’ data on the Play Store. Google has directed its developers to complete this section by July 20.

“As app developers update their functionality or change their data handling practices, they will show the latest in the apps’ Data safety section,” Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, said in a blog post on Tuesday.

(Image: Google)

Frey explained in the post that this was an attempt to give users additional information and context on how and why their data is being collected and used. “Users want to know for what purpose their data is being collected and whether the developer is sharing user data with third parties. In addition, users want to understand how app developers are securing user data after an app is downloaded… Users can also see whether the app needs this data to function or if this data collection is optional, ”she said.

Once implemented, users will be able to see the following information on the page of an app:

  • Whether and why a developer is collecting data
  • Whether the developer is sharing data with third parties.
  • How the data is being secure, like its encryption in transit and whether users can ask for it to be deleted.
  • Whether a qualifying app has committed to better protect children in the Play store.
  • Whether the developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard – the Mobile Application Security Verification Standard.
  • (Image: Google)

    “Giving users more visibility into how apps collect, share and secure their data through the Data safety section is just one way we’re keeping Android users and ecosystem safe,” Frey said.

    Google aims to do this by having apps ask the users for permission – much like it is done in iOS – to access sensitive information, such as location, or other hardware, such as camera and microphone. The permission can be given for one-time use, always, or denied completely.

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    First Published: IST


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