Google announced the introduction of a privacy information section on the entries of Android applications listed in its Google Play Store digital distribution service starting with Q1 2022.
“Today, we’re pre-announcing an upcoming safety section in Google Play that will help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security,” Suzanne Frey, Product VP for Android Security and Privacy, said.
“This can be a big change, so we’re sharing this in advance and building with developers alongside us.”
Google will share the new policy requirements and resources later this summer (together with detailed app privacy policies).
New app submissions and updates will also be required to include app privacy information dictated by the newly introduced rules starting Q2 2022.
Once the new section is introduced on app store entries, Android developers (including Google) will be required to share info on the data collected and stored by their apps (including location, contacts, and personal information) and on how the data is used (e.g., app personalization or functionality).
Developers who will fail to provide accurate information and comply with the new privacy requirements will be subject to policy enforcement measures (not yet disclosed, but will most likely lead to their app removal until they become compliant with the new rules).
“Google Play will introduce a policy that requires developers to provide accurate information,” Frey added.
“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.”
Besides info on what data Android apps collect and how they use it, the new Google Play Store safety section will also include other elements that would increase each app’s security and privacy.
The additional info listed in this new Play Store section will let users know if the app:
- Has security practices, like data encryption
- Follows our Families policy
- Needs this data to function or if users have choice in sharing it
- Has a safety section verified by an independent third-party
- Enables users to request data deletion if they decide to uninstall
Until the new policy requirements are shared, Google provides developers with resources to help them create privacy-friendly and secure apps, including privacy best practices, security best practices, and info on how to work with data more securely.
Google’s announcement of an incoming Play Store safety section comes after detailed privacy information (dubbed App Privacy labels) was added by Apple to App Store entries in December to help users understand each app’s data collection and privacy practices.
Privacy labels for all iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps in Apple’ App Stores can also be viewed online (this online database also includes privacy info on apps that don’t have dedicated App Store pages).