Google will enforce Android apps tell users about data use next year

Google today pre-announced the ‘safety section’ in Google Play that will allow Android users see what sort of personal data an app collects and shares, plus give access to additional details that impact privacy and security. 

Android developers will need to share what type of data is collected and stored and how the data is used. Apps will also be required to provide their privacy policies. Google said new app submissions and app updates must include these information starting the second quarter of 2022. The new policy requirements and guides will be shared this summer. 

The safety section will also include new elements to highlight whether the app follows its Families policy which is related to child safety; if the app has security practices like data encryption; if the app’s safety section is verified by an independent third-party; if the app needs data to function or if users have choice in sharing it; and whether the app enables users to request data deletion, if they decide to uninstall. 

“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. 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 don’t become compliant will be subject to policy enforcement.”

Google said. 

The company says its own apps will also be required to comply with the requirements. 

In early February, people familiar with the matter had said that Google was exploring a way to limit data collection less strictly than Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework. The upcoming safety section is not exactly a privacy label. Instead, it’ll mainly aim to let Android developers better explain themselves in terms of personal data usage. 

Written by Jordan Bevan

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