Google’s new Play Store section forces developers to explain their data collection


Google is rolling out a new section in Play Store listings that forces developers to explain what data they’re collecting and how it’s being used.

The new section is titled ‘Data safety’ and will appear alongside the usual sections like ‘About this app’ and ‘Ratings and reviews’:

Apple released a similar feature as part of numerous privacy-enhancing features in last year’s iOS 14. Google showed off its version last year but is only beginning to roll it out this week.

Here’s the information developers can share in the Data safety section:

  • What data is collected and for what purpose.
  • Whether it’s being shared with third parties.
  • The app’s security practices (like encryption of data in transit) and whether users can request their data to be deleted.
  • Whether the qualifying app has committed to following Google Play’s Families Policy to better protect children in the Play Store.
  • Whether they’ve validated their security practices against a global security standard like the MASVS.

The section may currently be blank if a developer hasn’t yet provided any information. Google has set a deadline of 20 July 2022 for developers to fill it out.

Google is essentially relying on developers to be honest in the information they provide to users in this section.

“You alone are responsible for making complete and accurate declarations in your app’s store listing on Google Play,” wrote Suzanne Frey Vice President of Product, Android Security and Privacy at Google, in a blog post.

“Google Play reviews apps across all policy requirements; however, we cannot make determinations on behalf of the developers of how they handle user data. Only you possess all the information required to complete the Data safety form.”

“When Google becomes aware of a discrepancy between your app behavior and your declaration, we may take appropriate action, including enforcement action,” explained Frey.

The new section has begun rolling out but may take several weeks to reach everyone.

(Photo by steffen wienberg on Unsplash)

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