Play Store’s Data Safety Section will require Android developers to disclose the data they intend to collect from users. Is it enough?
Google’s Play Store has the largest collection of Android apps online. It is the most popular source of Android apps for most Android users worldwide.
Many apps available on the Play Store have poor privacy policies. Your data may be hiddenly harvested, shared with others, or used to malicious ends.
Google has tried to implement user-friendly privacy rules but it has had limited success. Google has, however, come up with new privacy policies that can be used on Play Store apps. But will it work?
New Data Safety Section in the Play Store
A Google blog posted details about a new privacy feature that will be added to the Play Store in April 2022. Developers would need to disclose whether or not their apps collect data from users and what purpose. It’s very similar to the Privacy Label in Apple’s App store. Google intends to make the Play Store version more informative.
Apple’s data safety labels list the data that an app uses. However, Google expects Android developers to explain why they use the data. Google asks developers to explain why they use data. For instance, if an app obtains your location data, Google expects them to tell users what the app does with that data and whether it shares that data with any third parties.
Android developers will have the opportunity to declare their data safety status in the new section of the app page.
- What purpose an app collects data?
- How users can request their data be deleted and what security measures are used.
- How much data an app developer will share with third parties.
- How well a developer adheres to global security standards.
- To determine if certain apps are compliant with Google Play’s Families policy, which protects minors who use Play Store.
The Play Store is generally safe. However, the new data safety section will improve transparency about privacy practices used in apps published to the Play Store. Some apps have begun to display the new data safety label but most apps are still not.
Google has given Android developers until July 20th 2022 to conform to the new rules. In the next few weeks, most apps will be displaying the label.
The new feature will make Play Store apps more trustworthy.
Google is criticized for its poor privacy practices in apps on the Play Store. Every now and again, there’s news about Play Store apps that are maliciously collecting user data. Google is often not spared from the blame, although app developers usually take the brunt of the blame.
The company has implemented and enforced many user-friendly privacy rules to Play Store apps over time, but privacy and data safety issues still persist. This is one of the main reasons that some apps are removed form the Play Store. Would the new addition resolve the problem?
Google’s Play Store feature is mainly a cosmetic solution. It is unlikely that it will solve the problem. This is because developers who want to steal data from you would have to ask for it. Google has not included any new methods to make sure that the collected data is only used for the purposes it claims on its labels.
Google doesn’t have a way to guarantee that only the data it declares is collected. A developer of an app could claim that it uses the location data it collects to improve its services, when in fact it is being used to better target your ads. An app developer might claim it only collects a specific type of data, but secretly collects additional information.
Apple is known for its strict data safety policies, but it has struggled to find ways to ensure that iOS app developers only collect the data they have declared on their privacy page. Despite declaring otherwise, some iOS apps still secretly collect and transfer users’ data. Similar problems exist with Google’s Play Store.
Google may have more efficient ways of ensuring developers only receive the data they disclose. It will be a huge victory for Android users if it does. Play Store users will need to follow the example of app developers.
Play Store’s Data Safety Section Offers Some Potential
Play Store users will be able to see what apps are available before they install them, regardless of whether Google uses new methods to enforce truthfulness. If an app developer claims that it collects or shares personal information from its users, that gives people the option to not install the app. Before installing the app, they will be able decide if they agree or disagree with these practices.