Google on Tuesday officially started rolling out a new “Data Safety” section for Android apps on the Play Store to highlight the type of data being collected and shared with third parties.
“Users want to know what their data is being collected for and if developers are sharing user data with third parties,” said Suzanne Frey, VP of Product Security and Android privacy, said. “Also, users want to understand how app developers secure user data after an app is downloaded.”
The transparency measure, which builds on Apple’s “Privacy Nutrition Label” line, was first announced by Google almost a year ago in May 2021.
The Data Safety section, which will be visible against any app listing on the digital storefront, presents a unified view of what data is being collected, what it is being used for and how that data is handled, and highlight what data is being shared with third parties.
On top of that, the labels can also show “an app’s security methods, such as encrypting data in transit and whether the user can request data deletion,” Frey notes, in addition to authentication of such methods against security standards such as the Mobile Application Security Verification Standard (MASVS).
This feature is expected to be rolled out to all users gradually, giving app developers a deadline of July 20, 2022 to complete this section and update them if they change functionality. application capabilities or data processing methods.
That said, Data Safety is expected to face concerns similar to Apple’s in that the system is built entirely on an honor system, which requires app developers must be honest and clear about what they do with the data and not incorrectly list labels.
Apple has said that it will regularly check the accuracy of the labels, thus ensuring that the labels are trustworthy and do not give users a false sense of security about the data collected and shared. .
Last year, Google said that it planned to set up a mechanism to require developers to provide accurate information and would require them to correct misrepresentations if policy violations were identified. .
Although the search giant has explicitly stated that its application review process is not designed to certify the accuracy and completeness of data safety declarations made by application developers provided by third parties, but it offers strong measures to deal with such violations.
The company warns that it will take appropriate enforcement measures when it identifies a deviation from the information provided in the section. Failure to ensure compliance may result in updates being blocked or removed from Google Play.
“When Google becomes aware of a discrepancy between your app behavior and your statements, we may take appropriate action, including enforcement action,” the company said in a support article. update support.