Google Play Store developers will soon have to share details about user data

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New Delhi: Google has made a ‘pre-announcement’ about an upcoming safety section in Google Play that it claims will help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security. The new feature is aimed at providing more control to the user over their own data. The announcement follows Apple’s iOS 14.5 update which has also introduced a new safety feature where apps will have to request permission for tracking user behaviour.

The new policy requirements from Google will be shared with app developers in the third quarter this year and developers can start declaring information in the Google Play Console by Q4 2021.

Timeline for the new policy change

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Timeline for the new policy change

According to an official blog post from the company, in the first quarter of 2022, users will be able to start seeing the section on Google Play, and second quarter onward, new app submissions and app updates will have to include these details.

In addition to the data an app collects or shares, Google is also introducing new elements to highlight whether:

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  • The app has security practices, like data encryption
  • The app follows Play Store’s Families policy
  • The app needs this data to function or if users have choice in sharing it
  • The app’s safety section is verified by an independent third-party
  • The app enables users to request data deletion, if they decide to uninstall

Google Play Store app developers will have to share what type of data is collected and stored: Examples of potential options are approximate or precise location, contacts, personal information (e.g. name, email address), photos & videos, audio files, and storage files

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 the Play Store finds that a developer has misrepresented the data they’ve provided and is in violation of the policy, they will ask the developer to fix it. The company claims that apps that don’t become compliant will be subject to policy enforcement.

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