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Google Play's new safety section will show how Android apps use your data
- The Google Play Store now has a safety section that shows how apps use your data.
- You’ll know if an app encrypts data and otherwise respects your privacy and security.
- All new apps will have to include this info by Q2 2022.
Google will soon make privacy much more of a selling point for Android apps. It’s adding a safety section to Google Play Store listings that illustrates just how a given app uses and protects your data.
The privacy upgrade will not only outline how Android apps use and share data (including content types like contacts and photos), but outline the controls and safeguard for that data. You’ll know if you have a choice in sharing data, or whether you can delete that data if you plan to uninstall the app. You’ll know if apps use security practices like encryption if their own safety sections have been independently verified, and whether they follow Google’s kid-friendly Families policy.
You’ll have to wait until the third quarter of 2021 to see the policy, and developers can start declaring the info in the third quarter. You won’t see Google Play show the section for apps until the first quarter of 2022. However, every new Android app (and updated versions of existing apps) will be required to declare that information by the second quarter of 2022 — developers will have no choice but to outline their privacy and security measures.
Creators that misrepresent their Android app’s data use will be asked to fix it or face “policy enforcement,” such as blocking updates.
Google won’t require that developers institute features that weren’t already part of Play Store policy. This could, however, pressure them into toughening the privacy and security protections for their Android apps. This could also reduce the chances of downloading apps that play fast and loose with your data, such as those that sell it to third parties or leave it exposed.