Google has announced that it will soon ask developers to disclose what data is collected and stored and where it is used as part of Google Play’s upcoming ‘safety section’. The feature, similar to Apple’s nutrition labels for apps, is expected to go live in Q1, 2022.
“Developers agree that people should have transparency and control over their data. And they want simple ways to communicate app safety that are easy to understand and help users to make informed choices about how their data is handled. Developers also want to give additional context to explain data use and how safety practices could affect the app experience,” Suzanne Frey, VP, Product, Android Security and Privacy said in a blog post on Thursday.
The new safety section will also give users context on whether the app has “security practices, like data encryption”; follows Google’s Families policy; really “needs this data to function or if users have a choice in sharing it”; if its “safety section is verified by an independent third-party” and if it “enables users to request data deletion if they decide to uninstall,” the post explained.
Developers will have to share what type of data is collected and stored including whether approximate or precise location, contacts, personal information, photos and videos, audio files, and storage files. They will also need to explain how the data is used. The port said “developers are responsible for the information disclosed in their section” and the new policy will ensure they provide accurate information and follow it up with enforcement for violators.
From the first quarter of 2022, all apps including Google apps will have the ability to showcase this data. While developers can start declaring information via the Google Play console by the last quarter of 2021, after the second quarter of 2022 this will become mandatory for all new submissions.
Apple’s nutrition label has come in for pushback from some apps, especially Facebook. It now remains to be seen how Menlo Park reacts to Google’s new announcement.